Monday, March 13, 2006

"You Will Be Like God"

Our rector gave a fantastic sermon on Sunday. The gospel for the day was the scene where Christ says "Get behind me, Satan!" to Peter when he tries to stop Jesus from speaking of his coming death. The gist of her sermon was vulnerability, and that Jesus called Peter "Satan" because the ancient words of the tempter were on his lips: "You will be like God." Peter wanted his Jesus invulnerable.

The words of the tempter have beguiled my entire nation. Right now we're stomping about the planet, "fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here." We're not so much trying to secure our liberties as our sense of invulnerability.

The lie we've been warmly wrapped in since the Soviet Union fell, that America had overcome its Great Enemy and was now untouchable, exalted, inviolable, has been cruelly, brutally, humiliatingly shattered. The "end of history," the Pax Americana, died with three thousand people in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

The stinging pain, the cruel loss and burning humiliation of that September morning showed us that a poor, weak nation, a nation without even a navy or a nuclear-weapon-tipped missle to its name, could hurt us. That revelation frightened us, and it angered us. We, it turned out, were not like God. Yet.

So here we are, three years in to a war justified not by facts, but by this burning, fearful, hateful fire in our bellies to bring back the lie of our invulnerability, flinging ourselves around the other side of the planet to crush the source of our fear, of our hurt, of our shame.

Fellow liberals, stop lying to everyone. George Bush didn't lead us into war with Iraq. The American people did that, the sixty-something percent of the nation that thought it was justified at the time. We the Hurt, the Shamed, the Fearful.

We listened to a voice our mothers and fathers have heard since the foundation of the world, a voice that Christ heard on Peter's lips and that Eve heard from the mouth of a Serpent in the hours before the Fall: "You will be like God."

And here we are, three years later, still trying, and still failing, to be like God. Here we are, in the Garden of Eden in 2006, trying to erase our humanity.

But unlike Adam and Eve, our eyes have not yet been opened.


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