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  • karen horst cobb: August 2006

    Friday, August 25, 2006

    Mediation: Going Up the Nuclear Mountain

    Some trust in Chariots and some in horses but we will remember the name of the lord our God. They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright. Save, lord! … Psalm 20:7-9

    The expansive late summer sky seemed to swallow me up the steep ascent. My destination was not far from the summit and promised illumination and insight.

    The entrance of the sanctuary was quiet this Thursday afternoon. I timidly pulled open the massive doors and stepped inside. Quiet reverence, dim lighting and the soft gentle voice of a women welcomed me. Is this your first visit?” I admitted “it is.”

    Old men stood close together and spoke in low reverent tones as they remembered sacred moments. Young students stood in wonderment and others were reading text with thoughtful expressions. Now and then I saw an eye glisten with a held back tear.

    This was my first visit to the Bradbury Science Museum of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It is a dark shiny edifice honoring the god of America; the Atomic Bomb. I saw “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” the first nuclear bombs. Signs flashed above theater doors with a “countdown” until the next praise and worship to the powers of destruction “The Lab Today”. The “Stockpile Stewardship Program“ presentation demonstrates how our nation’s physicist/priests care for our nuclear weapons. A well modulated voice explains each weapon in clinical detail.

    The shiny capsule which holds the plutonium core is given a special place of honor; an ark of a dark covenant of destruction. They have killed children, mothers, fathers and grandparents. I was in the presence of worshipers of fear, death and destruction.

    I asked the greeter where the Nuclear Disarmament Museum is located. She didn’t know. I stood stunned next to a shiny bomb mounted in a large Lucite box. She came to me suggesting that the “Public Forum” in the back might have something on my "topic“. (Perhaps the word “disarmament” is forbidden.) A tiny dark cubical and some photos of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were pasted together by members of the public who demanded a voice. One was of a mass grave with a sea of skulls (too many to count). It was far beyond any found in Iraq.

    The text explained that the war was over before the US dropped the bomb. It was needless! I saw the suffering, the wounded, the orphaned, the homeless, the traumatized; a nursing mother with radiation sores seared into her breasts, eyes pleading for her baby’s future. I read again on the pamphlet given to me that the goal of LANL is to “reduce the global threat of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.” What irony!

    Two veterans of WWII lingered along the wall chronicling the history of the Manhattan project. They seemed to stand a little taller their voices a little stronger as they remembered Groves and Oppenheimer and the others. It was a great war to remember, a war which defineed them and continues to give meaning and purpose to many.

    I’ve heard of people who practice demonic crafts in secret and worship death, destruction and suffering. But, I came face to face with the enemy of Love who openly honors destruction. The atomic city set on a hill continues to strive for equality with God. This is the technology which has created the thousands of unexploded bomblets which are littering Lebanon. There is no pornography greater than the image of the little Lebanese boy who reports in agony that his “insides fell out” so he “picked them up and went for help.” Let this be the Satanic power and pornography we stand against. Perhaps this is “why they hate us.”

    The descent from the mountain was slow. There was thunder and lightening . The Father Son and Holy Ghost was not the power at the Trinity test site. The prophetic message on the bumper in front of me read. “It started here lets end it here.” A-men

    Some trust in F-16’s and some in nuclear warheads but I will trust in the name of the Lord my God! (Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace) Psalm 20: 7-9 (paraphrased)

    Prayer: Holy Prince of Peace, may I have no other gods before me! Forgive me for ever feeling proud of or secure in my county’s weapon’s technology. I renounce idolatry! I will openly resist the proliferation of these weapons at home and round the world. Have mercy upon us and forgive us for what we have unleashed. Teach us to be bold in bringing Christ’s love to our earth as we stand against demonic powers of human judgment which brings death and destruction to your children around the world. We remember Christ’s message that what we have sewn we shall also reap. Forgive us and have mercy!

    Action: Watch the video about the proposed nuclear “bunker buster “ the administration has discussed for use against Iran.

    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_security/nuclear_weapons/nuclear-bunker-buster-rnep-animation.html Learn more about what you can do at http://www.peace-action.org/abt/abtpa.html

    Friday, August 18, 2006

    Meditation: Being Salt is a Tasteful Calling

    You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. Matthew 5:13

    The first wars every fought on the earth are believed to have been fought over salt! It held the power for survival as a preservative and flavor enhancer. To ancient peoples it literally meant immortality. It was essential in sacrificial offerings and in burial practices. The Nile River was a rich source of the three salts necessary for mummification. Ancient peoples believed that a preserved body was essential to continue to exist in the after-life or to return in re-incarnation. Jesus was well aware of the importance of people’s desire for salt.
    When he traveled from town to town it was on salt trade routes which were established 150 years before his birth.

    These routes of commerce later became known as the “silk road.” Salt and the desire for salt had a huge impact on culture by connecting towns, villages, countries and continents. This impact is still reflected in our language. The English word “Salary” comes from the word salt. We still sometimes hear the expression, “He is not worth his salt.” Roman soldiers were often paid in salt because It was valuable, easy to carry, and in limited supply. People competed for it in the market place and one who had a lot of salt was wealthy.

    Understanding the importance of salt in ancient times helps us understand the story of Lot’s wife in Genesis. We are told she wanted to return to her wealthy and luxurious life-style in Sodom. The irony becomes clear , she turned into a pillar of salt. It would be like saying she loved money so much she turned into a huge pile of it. In the end, she was only that thing which she loved. This is a lesson for us all.

    The Arabic word peace (salaam) means negotiation (originally over salt). Likewise, the word for war (milah"'ama) was in reference to the disruption of salt sources and delivery. A community cut off from its salt supply would be destroyed. Salt was the ingredient, the nutrient, the life force. Unlike today where it has become the thing many of us avoid in our diets or that little something that makes things taste better. It is little wonder we have not given Bible references to salt more attention.

    Perhaps when we read references to salt we can better understand the meaning if we substitute a commodity which symbolizes the same thing in today’s world. Oil! The disruption of its flow represents suffering and death. Those who have it are rich. Those who want it are ruthless. Peace will come when it is negotiated and war is synonymous with the disruption of its flow.

    “We are the salt of the earth” takes on a whole new meaning. People who live by the values of Jesus are essential to the welfare of our communities and our world. The presence of truth, love and forgiveness are the values of “salt “. this is what hinders the decay of our societies. It preserves and sustains the people. It is our ability to negotiate, to think about the needs and desires of both sides in a conflict which sustains peace. The message is repeated in Mark 9:50 where we are instructed to “have salt in yourselves and have peace with one another. “ His grace is sufficient for all. We do not need to worry about the preservation of our lives.

    Prayer: Immortal Lord who sustains our bodies and our souls teach me what it means to have salt with in myself so I may help nourish, preserve, and bring peace to the world. May I not shy away from inhibiting corruption and decay where it exists. Let me be poured out for you in generous amounts to bring peace.

    Action: Be salt this week in some way. Preserve goodness, hinder corruption, and negotiate peace. Do one act which salts the world. Make your voice heard in Washington on war and corruption and at the same time do an act or speak out for goodness in your local community.

    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Meditation: What Did You Go to the Wilderness to See

    What did you go out to the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, more than a prophet. Matthew 11: 7-9

    We go to the wilderness to seek comfort, a source of hope, new insights and how to respond to global wars and unspeakable suffering. Many feel helpless. Some retreat to the austere desert to limit distractions or the hills and mountains for a Birdseye view. Some instead search the pages of books and websites or go to hear a knowledgeable speaker. All seeking inspiration and direction.

    The people of Jesus’ day did the same. They sought out a prophet in the wilderness who had strange ideas. They went looking for something different, something with life and hope. They came back from the vision quest angry and discouraged because their beliefs had been challenged. They had found what they were looking for.

    Jesus asked if they were expecting a soft reed shaken by the wind? Did they expect to find a man who did not have strong views, who could be easily swayed by their questions and willing to concede to the old ways of the law? Did they really expect to find someone teaching what their priests taught? Did they go looking for a rich political leader who was well dressed and had all the social graces? He explained that they went to see a prophet, a strange man making strong statements, whose wisdom would result in peace. He explained that it was the same spirit of Elijah the prophet who listened for God in the wilderness years ago.

    The strange furry locust -eater had the same spirit of one who isolated himself in the cave of depression. Elijah received the compassion of God. Curled up in the earth's womb, he found the courage to face the wind and the fire. Then, in that void, came the still small voice of God. Some had ears to hear and hearts to believe in Elijah John.

    Some did not. He was dirty, dressed poorly, ate strange food and did not socialize. Perhaps he had a demon (or a mental illness) they reasoned. Some of these same people did not accept Jesus for just the opposite reasons. He ate fine food, drank wine and was a friend to liars and cheats. Jesus explained that these external characteristics are of no concern. He tells us, “wisdom is justified by her children.”, Or as he said in a different way, “ye shall know them by their fruit.”

    Today many return from the wilderness discouraged because there is nothing there except some radical peace activists who say things contrary to the most preachers. They report on false teachings, on war atrocities, schemes, and tactics which the nightly news never mentions. It is confusing and upsetting. Some of them almost seem to have a mental illness. They preach peace yet they seem to cause people discord and distress by the their lament. Some of them go many days without eating and some are even dirty.

    The spirit of Elijah John continues to roam the wild places of God’s kingdom. We are called back to our baptism by water, fire and wind so we can stand as Elijah in open mouthed caves and emerge again into the kingdom of heaven ruled by the Prince of Peace.

    Prayer: I seek your wisdom in the wild places of my spirit where the reed, which is me, at sometimes sways. Help me to instead stand strong in the wind like the spirit of Elijah. Help me not seek the power of an earthly king or follow those on the wide road of destruction. Cleanse my soul to receive your words from any prophet; The child of war, the beggar, the refugee, and all of those who are not like me.

    Action: Read the account of Elijah in I Kings 19:1-15 and the account of John the Baptist In Matthew 11. 7-19. Listen for the still small voice of direction and then -fear not...After all, What did you go to the wilderness to see?