It is fitting and proper that we remember terror in the midst of this joyful season, and pray for the victims and perpetrators of terror, including the states of which I and most of my readers are citizens. It is fitting that we pray for children in South Sudan and Syria. And in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, and all places where terrorist cells or American drones operate (and leave it God to judge which is worse). I pray for the children of Palestine who live in the shadow of that damned wall and bear the daily burden of occupation and state-sponsored terror, and for children killed by suicide bombers. And come to think of it, there’s a wall along the southern border of the US, and its shadow stretches into our northernmost cities. I pray for persecuted Christians, and I pray for those persecuted by Christians. I pray for every child and youth who was driven to suicide by bullying. I pray for children whose water is poisoned by fraking. I pray for children of communities victimized by poverty, inadequate schools, mass incarceration, and the self-serving policies ostensibly meant to help them. The list goes on. I can’t recite it all. They are all known to God.
The message of this day isn’t that Christianity is so great for taking note of the innocent victims. Christianity and most other religions (and secular ideologies) have high ideals of human dignity. And Christianity, most other religions (and secular ideologies) have piss poor records of treating people according to that dignity. The message of this day, and of Christianity, is that the world needs a savior, and has one. And to that savior, we pray: Lord, have mercy on all sinners, of whom I am the chief. Heal us of our victimization, and heal our victims. Amen.