Letters From Iraq- Dec.8. "Suffer the Children"

"Suffer the Children" 12/8/02
Kathy led the reflection time this morning and had Luke 18:32-34 as her text where Jesus says, "Let the little children come unto me, ... for such is the Reign of God". She told how when she used to teach in an exclusive Jesuit high school, all of the students had dreams of a better life for any off-spring they might bring into this world. Even those who came from situations of plenty or luxury had expected even more for their successors. Toward the end of the school year, Kathy would challenge her students to consider life from the perspective of the poor and to consider a life of service rather than one of accumulation. At that point, her students would divide between those who could hear that message and those who chose to reject it. What expectations do we have here for the children we meet?

Kathy then taught for several years in an inner city school where she got very close to the students. She got very emotional when she described Sean, one of her students who died. She related his death to the seeming fate that awaits many of the children here who she has grown close to if the sanctions continue or the war escalates. Each of us shared stories about how kids here at at home have impacted us. We then sang "Maria Diaz", a song from Sweet Honey in the Rock. The last verse goes:
Don't look to God up in the skies
You can't see God with closed eyes
You must look to where the children are below
And see that they too have a chance
A chance to live, a chance to dance,
A chance to dream in colors bright with freedom's glow.

We plan to have our first public demonstration tomorrow at the UNDP office after we were invited to come back and do so. It will be in support of allowing the inspectors do their work, against war, and in favor of negotiations.

I went to the "Presbyterian" church this evening although Wahid, the young man sitting beside me who offered to translate the service for me called it an "evangelical" church that grew out of the reforms of Martin Luther and John Calvin. So I think it is probably a hybrid of various protestant denominations although the sermon on I Corinthians seemed somewhat evangelical as best I could understand the translation. The church was not quite full but I counted over 200 people there for this 5:30 PM service. I was disappointed not to here any Christmas songs this time.

Our mandatory AIDS test (required of all males under 60 and females under 50 who are in country more than 10 days- at a cost of $50. USD) didn't happen today because we got to the very crowded clinic and the wait was too long and the bank closed at 1 PM. We'll try tomorrow after the demonstration.


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