Monday, December 28, 2009

Slaughter of the Holy Innocents

Today, we remember all the male babies of Bethlehem who were killed because of Herod's feelings of inadequacy, because of his fear. Today we might say, "What an idiot that Herod was!" And yet, if you look around, you'll see that we haven't really grown that much as a people.

I see turf battles all the time. Some of the turf might be worth fighting for, but much of it is not. Recently at work, someone said to me, "I don't want you to feel like I'm usurping your power." He said it with a perfectly straight face.

Power? Me?

I'm the Interim Chair of a department that's part of a small school that's working towards SACS accreditation. What power would that be exactly?

And let's dream big for a minute. Let's say I was the Chair of the English Department at a prestigious school. Would I then have power? Not really.

The power I would want would be the power to make the world a truly better place. And very few people have that kind of power.

In fact, I should probably return to the words of John the Baptist: "I am not the Messiah."

Our lust for power, whether we'd use it for good or evil, is what gets so many of us into trouble. In our world, we're surrounded by miscarriages of power and justice on every scale, from the small scale workplace battles to the large scale horrors of what's happening in places like the Congo.

Here's a prayer for the day, from Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime: "We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you , in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

No comments: