In Christianity, we have just traveled through epiphany. Epiphany is an "ah ha" moment but it is also specifically that time when Jesus is found by the magi in Christian scripture. We often travel through the whole story of the magi searching for Jesus, finding him, Jesus & family escaping to Egypt, then living there, Herod dying, and then Jesus & family returning home in five minutes. Yep. We go through about 5 years in 5 minutes.
Rush rush rush. We do that very well.
I decided to break up the readings so each major event occurred on a different day. Today is the day Herod orders all the children in Bethlehem killed.
My thoughts, artwork, and haiku:
searching for rest
grace found in the wilderness
enslaved no more
Today is Herod's murder of Bethlehem's children. It is horrible and why I shaded that pericope red. Red for blood. I also did a zentangle teardrop to represent the mother's tears.
Now those tears. Can we talk about the quote within this pericope:
A voice was heard in Ramah
weeping and much grieving.
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she did not want to be comforted,
because they were no more. (Matt 2:18)
This is quoted from Jeremiah. That quote (31:15) is literally lifted from Jeremiah's "scroll of comfort." As in, "Keep your voice from crying and your eyes from weeping because you will be rewarded." It is weird to use scripture of comfort to illustrate the grief that mothers of Bethlehem would experience. Perhaps the take away is that these families will not be forgotten. Even in grief, knowing that you are not forgotten, is enough. I think Christians need to consider that the Jewish writers of scripture knew their Jewish scripture and went backwards into Torah to find supporting scripture. This is one of those examples. The scripture fits but like a shoe that is 1/2 size too big. We might call it cherry picking. But anyway...
I have always thought this scene was a mirror to the moment in the exodus when God sentences all the children under 2 to death. I don't know what to do with that exactly but if we are horrified by what Herod does here, we should definitely be horrified when "God does it." I am sure there is some academic paper in existence comparing these two events.
For the leader, two things--do we make excuses for people close to use when they misbehave in the exact same way that others that we condemn do? Also, how do we encounter those who are in traumatic grief? With platitudes of future rewards? Or reminding them they are not forgotten--by you, the community, and God.
What are your thoughts? How do you approach this horrible story?