December 28, 2013

Slaughter of Innocence



Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, "Out of Egypt I have called my son."
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
"A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more."
When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child's life are dead. Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He will be called a Nazorean." 
-- Matthew 2:13-23


It happened on a Friday morning after coffee with cream
and a currant scone and a pat on the dog’s head

And then the news of the massacre and the guns
the children and the blood and Herod’s madness again

Our innocence died long ago, but we keep murdering it
as if it might rise again and mock us in our tantruming

Our young men somewhere after Chutes and Ladders
slide into their soul’s hole and something in them dies

We languish in guiding them through the black muck of life 
and teaching them to weep at their own weakness and death 

until they find strength to live beyond the rage and blame
and embrace every living thing, even themselves, even God

They say when Jesus was born his parents fled in horror
Herod slaughtered thousands of babes like a lost son

Even wild, spinning violence can’t snuff out every wick
One boy escaped to light up the darkness like a shooting star

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