Greetings Fellow Network of Love Lovers!
I’d like to write briefly on a sermon I heard in church this Sunday. Father Tom Suriano, a retired priest from the Milwaukee Archdiocese, was the guest preacher at All Saints. His sermon focused on the broad topic of peace, but the way in which he delivered his talk was unique.
Woven in between a discussion of bible text and present day struggles to find peace, Suriano introduced an interesting tidbit about the tradition of a particular Native American tribe known as the Iroquois. Before the Iroquois leaders ever declared war on another people, they had to have special permission from one group in the tribe. The group to be asked, as one might guess, was NOT the male elders or the political leaders or the leaders in battle. Instead, the Iroquois, before they fought another tribe, had to have permission from the mothers of the young men who would ultimately be doing the fighting. Suriano told the congregation this story before diving into the meat of his sermon.
During the heart of his preaching, he discussed how as baptized people, those of us sitting in the seats on Sunday must go out and be advocates for peace. He said that it is through our belief that a person could actually come and teach a people how to live, be a savior, a messiah for a society, should give us the strength and courage to persevere in our ongoing prayer for peace.
Each of us is called to bring light into the world in our own special way. Thankfully, we are all created in an image not like anyone else. (Twins often look like each other, but, if you know any twins, you know that sometimes they are miles apart in terms of personality.) We should look at our differences as ways to foster friendships and build community and family that unites unique people. If we as Christians, or simply as people who want to see peace prevail, stand together to save the world as–––as Christians believe–––Jesus Christ showed in his appearances here in this world, then we have to have faith in a more loving world community.
Suriano brought his sermon to a close by bringing the community back to the idea of the Iroquois’ way to decide when to fight and when to stay home. He asked us, after posing we seriously consider what a Christian can bring to the negotiation for world peace, to ponder this particular notion. What if, in this “modern” world, we were to leave the decision of when we wage war in the minds and the hearts of the women who brought a soldier into this world? What if Christians were respected enough as a group of people to be asked if this war should really happen? What if Christians were like those mothers of the soldiers?
Suriano seems to have been asking us to consider ourselves mothers, or parents, to each and every young person we send overseas to fight for the United States of America. If placed in the shoes of a person who helped to raise a unique, wonderful, gifted person, who carried a child in her womb for nine months and began a lifelong bond with that child, could we honestly say that this war should be fought? Can we look into the eyes of our teenagers being sent to war and tell them to go off to battle? These are questions worth asking ourselves, and they are questions that, in the tradition of the Iroquois, could only have been answered by the mothers of the soldiers. We might want to let the mothers of our soldiers today give some answers.
Your friend bob.