Today is the anniversary of the day when the Paxtang Boys rode in the pre-dawn hours through the last remaining Susquehannock village in Conestoga, PA, and massacred most of the remaining people of the tribe, a quiet group including elderly residents and children. Fear of the Other, coupled with bombastic and unreasoning rhetoric, turned a group of citizens into a murderous mob.
In recent weeks, I have heard bombastic and hateful rhetoric toward the perceived Other spewed from national pulpits. The mob gathers. In what ways will you and I work in these days to diffuse and redirect the rhetoric, and to offer hopeful and peaceful responses?
1. Synchronicity piled upon synchronicity–feels like messages. Yesterday morning at church, I picked up and read the introduction to a little book titled Radical Hospitality. It’s about the Benedictine Rule. After lunch, my father gave me a copy of the John McQuiston book Always We Begin Again, about the Benedictine Rule. This morning’s Advent Reading is titled “Radical Hospitality.” I think I ought to be spending some time with St. Benedict this week.
2. Feeling good. Throughout the day yesterday, I began to feel sicker and sicker. I had a low fever in the late afternoon and almost called my principal to get me a sub for today, but I just couldn’t bear the thought of another sick day. I feel much better this morning. It was just a quick little bug.
3. Citrus. Tangerines and grapefruit.
4. All the people who are working for justice and peace in the world. We can respond to the mob with reason and compassion and tenderness. Repeating history does not have to be an inevitability. The Paxtang boys do not need to ride again.
5. The light will return. The light will return. (It is so dark, but) the light will return.
May we walk in Beauty, in Shalom, in Salaam, in Peace.