Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Slaughter of the Innocents--Why, God?

Can you hear them?
Keening in the lonely nights.  Desperate clinging to what is no more.  Sweet, cooling flesh.
God did not stop them, the soldiers who came with swords.

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.  Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, for her children are no more."--Matthew 2:16-18

The children died without having lived, and they haunt us.
And it happens still.
We don't understand--not then, not now.

I don't know why this happens, but I hear the children's cry, the cry quieted forever almost before it is uttered.  And I weep for them, too--for all of them.
But at the same time, I know that they are spared.  They rest in the one place for which I still long.
They died too soon, too soon, but they will never know what we have to live every day--
the yawning separation, and the long, struggling creep back into God's arms.

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