The Sword Still Sings

The sword sung on the barren heath,
The sickle in the fruitful field;
The sword he sung a song of death,
But could not make the sickle yield. _William Blake

Whose song do you sing?

There is something deep within each of us, something that dances within each of us. There is something within us that tells us that the world is not the way it's supposed to be, we all have that. Many of our actions pour out of that something inside us. We can feel it, hear it, it stings our hearts, it sings lament within us. We respond to its song, each one, some with riffles, some with crosses, but all with hope. Anyone who has any left responds with hope, hope that the world doesn't have to be this way. We sings the songs of hope as that something inside us begins to come out of us.

But not all our songs are the same.

There is a song that says some people really don't matter, that some people simply aren't part of the world as it should be. There is a song that says that violent overthrow is the only real method, that negotiation is useless, and that revenge is the way, the truth, and the life--that revenge is the path to the world for which that something inside us cries. The world is not as it should be, it's not our fault, so those who got us here must die or be punished. They hurt us so if we can kill them, there will be peace. If we can drop enough bombs or fire enough bullets then the world will be as it should be. Or perhaps it's more like this; it would be better if we didn't have to kill certain people but we just have to and then the world will be as it should be. It is a song sung from the battle fields. This is the sword's song.

There is another song that says that no one deserves this, no one was meant to suffer and everyone is in this together. This song suggests that life is a precious thing, that people are worth saving. Restoration is possible if only we learn to break the cycle of violence and forgive and love our enemies. There is hope, not just for me or for Americans or for the people like me but for everyone who breaths the breath from God. Jesus is the way the truth and the life, Jesus is the path to the world for which that something inside us cries. It's a song of life, a song of love, and a song of forgiveness. It's a song of hope that imagines the world as it should be and imagines it with the imagination of God, no matter how "impractical" it may sound. It's a song without borders. There is a song that reaps life wherever it is sung even while it is being struck down by the sword. It is a song that dies by the sword but never ever lives by it. It is a song of life even in the midst of death. It can sing in this way because it sees with God's imagination and believes that Christ, who was tortured and struck down, is risen indeed. It is a song of food and bodies. It is a song of blood and wine. It is a song sung from the fields. This is the sickle's song.

The sword still sings, all too loudly, and our hearts often sing its song.

The sickle still sings and our hearts have forgotten how to sing along.