I have watched the news, commentaries, and celebrations about the death of Osama Bin Laden. I am not sure what to think or feel. Relief? Justice? Celebration? American pride? Sadness? I keep coming back to the Exodus story.
Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my might, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea; his picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea. The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone. (Exodus 15:1-5)
Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.” (Exodus 15:20-21)
There is a story about this in the Talmud (Talmud Tractate Megillah 10b). The angels above began to sing and dance as well. God silences their celebration saying, “The works of my hands are drowning in the sea and you want to sing praises?”
Life is sacred. Christian or Muslim, guilty or innocent, we are all the works of God’s hands. An enemy is dead. It needed to happen. But this is not a time for singing, dancing, or celebration. It is a time for reflection. How did we get to this point? How and when will we learn to live with one another? Will we ever? It is a time for confession of things done and left undone, that we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. It is a time for prayer for all who have died, for peace, and for our enemies.
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love
our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth:
deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in
your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)