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Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer

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catspaw49 12 Sep 01 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,Dave (the ancient mariner at work) 12 Sep 01 - 09:31 AM
Cappuccino 12 Sep 01 - 09:41 AM
Jeri 12 Sep 01 - 09:43 AM
Mrrzy 12 Sep 01 - 09:44 AM
Skeptic 12 Sep 01 - 09:47 AM
catspaw49 12 Sep 01 - 10:15 AM
Little Hawk 12 Sep 01 - 10:15 AM
wysiwyg 12 Sep 01 - 10:16 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Sep 01 - 10:18 AM
Bat Goddess 12 Sep 01 - 10:20 AM
GUEST 12 Sep 01 - 10:42 AM
wysiwyg 12 Sep 01 - 11:02 AM
MMario 12 Sep 01 - 11:10 AM
catspaw49 12 Sep 01 - 12:33 PM
wysiwyg 12 Sep 01 - 12:42 PM
brid widder 12 Sep 01 - 01:19 PM
vindelis 12 Sep 01 - 01:34 PM
Jeri 12 Sep 01 - 02:15 PM
Wyrd Sister 12 Sep 01 - 02:19 PM
MMario 12 Sep 01 - 02:40 PM
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Subject: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 09:05 AM

Last night I was watching a news program where several people coming out of church said they prayed for the injured and the dead and their families and that they "prayed for revenge." Mark Twain's famous piece came to mind but I was posting other things. Thankfulyy (and gratefully), friend Greg F. posted this in it's wonderful entirety and I thanked him this morning.....but buried in another thread.......I think this piece by a brilliant and thinking man needed a thread of it's own. Thinking and humane people are still in short supply o hundred years later...........Have a good read.

**********************************************************

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms,the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and sputtering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spreads of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpouring of fervid eloquence which moved every listener.

It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came-next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their faces alight with material dreams-visions of a stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender!-then home from the war, bronzed heros, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation -- "God the all- terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!" Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was that an ever--merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory -

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there, waiting.

With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal,"Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did -- and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said

"I come from the Throne-bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd and grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import-that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of- except he pause and think.

"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of His Who hearth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this-keep it in mind. If you beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

"You have heard your servant's prayer-the uttered part of it. I am commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it-that part which the pastor, and also you in your hearts, fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory-must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle- be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it-for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(After a pause)

"Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits."

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

-Mark Twain

**********************************************************

Again Greg, my thanks for the original posting.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: GUEST,Dave (the ancient mariner at work)
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 09:31 AM

Those who seek revenge should dig two graves. One for their victim and one for themselves. Revenge also drove the people who flew those aircraft into the buildings. The prayer is for peace and justice. Let this incident serve to remind all that violence begets violence; and that international terrorism is the greatest threat to world peace and security and should be eradicated. I am reminded that the last remark was also made by President Regan during his inaugural speech. Retaliation is inevitable and fully justified in this case. But it should be directed at those who commited the acts, organized them; and the governments who support such activity should be held accountable. The whole world is horrified by mindless acts with such callous disregard for human life. But do not let your emotions rule your actions. Retaliation should be swift, and directed to be as surgical as possible. Do not blame all for the actions of a few. When we hear of such death and destruction in any part of the world, we should cry for humanity. The sight of people celebrating such destruction is sickening; but serve to remind us that there are some to whom life is not sacred and worthy of protection. Yours, Aye. Dave (who supports the American people)


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: Cappuccino
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 09:41 AM

I've never read that before... but it's amazing stuff. Thanks.

- IanB


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: Jeri
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 09:43 AM

I think there is another thought.
The righteous anger and hatred that allows my enemies to justify their killing is admirable. Oh, let my anger blossom into militant hatred, and let that hatred guide my hands until I'm capable of slaughtering, or advocating the slaughter of people, as they do.

Anger's understandable. Anger is justified. What we allow it to turn us into is something we're going to have to live with, whether it's the angry beast of an indignant nation that ravages a victim people, or the smaller beast in each angry person that must rip a bit of flesh from another individual.

Before wars are fought between people, they're fought in each heart.


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 09:44 AM

I don't pray, but boy do I hope we can rise above this rather than sinking to the depths already seen.


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: Skeptic
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 09:47 AM

Spaw,

Thanks for the repost. I missed Greg's post too. This is one of my favorites.

Regards

John


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 10:15 AM

Beautifully stated Jeri......

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 10:15 AM

Amen, Spaw. Though I have sometimes felt like killing another person (such as a sadistic school bully or a totally unreasonable family member, for instance...) I have NEVER been willing to actually do it. Why? I value life, and I have some sense of responsibility about it, and some concern for my own integrity as a living soul. And I realize that way down deep the other guy is a whole lot like me, when you strip away his politics, culture, history, religious viewpoints, and all the rest of that temporal stuff that mesmerizes and terrorizes us all on a daily basis.

No act of vengeance has ever improved the world for anyone, but only incited further acts of vengeance, and led to further suffering for the survivors. And the victims are usually entirely innocent in any case, and even if they aren't, does that give you the right to kill them? No.

Those who have an enthusiasm for war know NOT what they wish for.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 10:16 AM

Spaw, I can't read that much this morning. All I got was a thread title that hurt.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 10:18 AM

I had already mailed it to all my friends from the first post and it well deserved another mention.

Out of interest, and I'm not even sure if this is the right thread to post this on, I was searching for some understanding of the attrocities, if indeed there is any, and found this.

In his final sermon Muhammad summarised the heart of Islam:

Belief in One God without images or symbols;

Equality of all the Believers without distinction of race or class, the superiority of individuals being based solely on piety;

Sanctity of life, property and honour;

Abolition of interest, and of vendettas and private justice;

Better treatment of women;

Obligatory inheritance and distribution of the property of deceased persons among near relatives of both sexes, and removal of the possibility of the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few.

Almost as simple as 'Love thy neighbour as thyself' isn't it! I am sure that most Moslems will follow this code and it is only the few who break their own faith that the hatemongers wish us to see.

Before our world leaders criticise the Islamic peoples let them see how well we follow our faiths.

Before any of us ask for vengence, let us ask for understanding.

Peace

Dave


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 10:20 AM

I first read The War Prayer in 1967 or '68. It was a massive influence on me then and is doubly important now. Thanks for reposting it.

Bat Goddess


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 10:42 AM

Yo! Wussy-Wag!! TAKE time to read it.


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 11:02 AM

It isn't a function of time. It's a function of being ABLE. I kow Spaw is a sweetie; I just can't GO there, but I will, because he posted it.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: MMario
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 11:10 AM

yes - the title hurts - until you read the posting - and it doesn't hurt to remind anyone that there are innocents on both sides of most issues.


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 12:33 PM

I dunno' Susan....It wasn't meant to hurt as a title, but the truth in the writing is there......and worse it seems, as the people I saw were openly stating what Clements alluded to as the opposite side of the two-edged result of praying for ourselves. I hate to believe, although I do, that we have now regressed this far.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 12:42 PM

Oh I know you didn't mean it, Pat, I just am being human today too. Check your e-mail to see what I did next.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: brid widder
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 01:19 PM

Thank you Spaw...It seems likely that there will be retaliation...maybe against Afghanistan....the people of that country have suffered for many years...war upon war...the Taliban now make life there a nightmare freedom does not exist...extreme interpretation of Islam even makes the education of girls illegal. Anger is natural, understandable but more deaths will only make the situation much worse...the people who died were innocent....so will be those who may die as a result of a retaliatory attack. Pray for peace.


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: vindelis
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 01:34 PM

God help us if anyone tries anything against Afghanistan. Just remember what they did to the Russians; it turned out to be their Vietnam. Spaw this is a wonderful post, perhaps someone should send a copy to our leaders, before they go too far.


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: Jeri
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 02:15 PM

WARNING: the following contains evidence of anger.

Oddly, while I found myself curiosly NOT pissed off at whoever did this (mainly because I'm not sure who did this) I find myself being increasing pissed off at the knee-jerk "let's go out and kill somebody" sentiments. I guess anger as a first response is just a different one from mine, and I don't understand it. I don't think it's wrong, but I'm afraid we'll go out an bomb the crap out of anybody we don't like just because we can. I wonder why some people have seemed to give up caring about the victims in favor of kicking ass. (I suspect, and I mean this compassionately, it's easier for them to deal with anger than sorrow.) I'm not speaking to people who simply talk about their feelings. I'm talking about those who use their emotions to justify advocating killing. It still reminds me of someone leaving a person bleeding in the street to go chase their assailant.

I think we need to be careful. Sorrow makes us feel horrible for a while. Letting anger get the upper hand can lead to a lot of people (including ourselves) feeling horrible for a long time...or not feeling anything anymore.

The masters who build all the bombs and the guns
Those masters need servants, and they aren't the ones
Who are the destroyers of innocent lives
Look behind your own masks to see what good survives

You who point fingers at everyone else
Stop blaming the world and look at yourselves
You decry the slaughter and watch the world bleed
But when the call is for more blood, you follow with speed

Compassion and reason you believe in until
You have a reason that allows you to kill
And it's killing you do by the words that you speak
By the causes you further and revenge that you seek

The masters direct the ultimate plan
But you are the killers who behind them stand
Who lust for revenge and want someone to die
And believe what they tell you, whether truth or a lie

The killers are those who follow the crowd
And the voices of hatred join and grow loud
And maybe you'll realize before it's too late
You don't sound any different from the ones that you hate

If your children know terror, and cry in their sleep
They're the fears of a child, and those fears can run deep
What nightmare haunts them? They might say, if you ask
That they saw the monster behind your own mask


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 02:19 PM

Hear hear


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Subject: RE: Praying For Revenge--The War Prayer
From: MMario
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 02:40 PM

I think you hit the nail on the head Jeri - but somehow I still wish there were some way to both provide for the victims AND bring perpetrators to justice


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