Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lully Lullay

Lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.
Lullay, Thou little tiny Child.
By, by, lully, lullay.
There is a part of the Christmas story that we do not tell to our children on Christmas morning, it has never been a part of any Christmas pageant I have ever seen and this week it has been haunting my thoughts and prayers.

It is like our whole kingdom's birth is all about love and inclusivity and social justice except for the part where some guy KILLS ALL THE BABIES!  My heart just wants to scream, "what the #@$&, God?"
O sisters, too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day;
This poor Youngling for whom we sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

I hate this story.  It is all the worst of life rolled into one little, tiny excerpt.  I want to yell and scream and protest that this is not the God that saves Mary from stoning or finds Zaccheus in the tree.  This is a Olympian God who promotes God's agenda and if all the babies die...well, the hero escapes, so it's all good.  I hear the voice of the Psalmist raging out, "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?"  

Do the ends justify the means?

Could any ends justify those means?

Herod the King, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day;
His men of might, in his own sight,
All children young, to slay.

And yesterday, another day of weeping.  Another day of overwhelming sadness.  Another day of lament.  

But we skip lament in our stories, so we don't have any framework for this grief.  So, we say it is God's plan, all things have a good purpose or just vaguely pray for comfort.

I say no!  

I say we stop and scream and lament.  For the moment that an enraged king orders every child under two killed or a gunman opens fire on children is no other thing than hell.  The why's and how's are out there, but the spirit of the thing is hell.  

God stopped and wept.

I believe that God's heart weeps with the mothers of those innocents and those many long years ago, I know God wept with Rachel.  And God weeps when a child is stolen for sex or whimpers and dies of starvation or is abandon or beaten or lost.  These things are hell.  God weeps when a homeless woman hears herself ridiculed.  That is hell.  God weeps when people are rejected for being different.  That is hell.  And God weeps when a man's hurt, pain and confusion turns violent.  That is hell.

These are not God's plan.  These are things about which God weeps and we also must weep.  Deeply.  

Is there a hell?  Yes, when we hurt and hate and reject, that is hell.  Those children died at Herod's hand and hell came to earth and although we all know Easter is coming and there is a powerful good coming, it is worth a moment of lament and grief to remember why our "souls thirst for God."  On the long road to Bethlehem this year, we have all been forced to remember that love might win, but pain and loss is real and there are times of weeping. 
Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee,
And ever mourn and say;
For Thy parting, nor say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

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