Tonight we had a vigil on behalf of the 4 Christian Peacemaker Team members who are currently being held hostage in Iraq. The group was small (about a dozen of us… I was proud that 4 were from my church… one guy drove in all the way from Perkins), but given the weather (snow with temperature in the teens) I thought it was pretty good that so many came. Our time began in silence (this was Quaker-style meeting), which seemed to go on forever as we waited to hear from what is deep inside us and to speak from that place. This situation is sad, it seemed at least for me that the words were hard to come. But they did come, and for the next 45 minutes or so we shared words of how we felt, words of concern, words of prayer, each of us as we felt led, and it was good. I think at least for me, I’ve had hard time praying this week about this situation, but being there with others who felt the same way seemed to help.
I think tonight mostly my prayer for Tom, for Norman, for James and for Harmeet, is that wherever they are at right now (it’s daylight in Iraq by now) that they would know that they are not alone. Tens of thousands are praying for them, Christians and Muslims (and others I’m sure) both, and our hearts are there with them.
I also believe that God is with them, and that God will give the strength for what is to come. If they live, then praise God that the captors hearts were turned. And if they are killed for the cause of peace and love, then praise God that they lived and died in such a good way. And my God ignite in us all the kind of love that they had.
Here is some more media coverage of what is going with this situation…
ElectronicIraq.net: Blessed Are the Merciful in Baghdad — by Kathy Kelly (this is by an old friend who is one biggest spiritual influences in coming to believe in the way of peace)
Nightline (ABC News): Transcript of Dec. 6, 2005 show (scroll down to read an interview with Tom Fox’s daughter, Katherine)
23:53:33 TERRY MORAN (OC) I want to talk about the work your father’s doing in Iraq. But first, do you feel you are getting all of the support you need from the United States government, that the Administration is doing everything it can and should in these circumstances?
23:53:46 KATHERINE FOX I think that it proves difficult, in that the reasons that my father is in Iraq and his principles and his beliefs and my own, run somewhat in conflict to the approach that the government is presently taking. They would like to support me. However, their means of support are not the direction that I would like to be taking. And my father’s explicitly stated that he does not want to have taken.
23:54:12 TERRY MORAN (OC) How do you mean, exactly?
23:54:14 KATHERINE FOX In that he, before he left, he wrote a very concise, precise statement of conscience and conviction, that if he were to ever be taken hostage that he does not support violent means to come in and to potentially release him, to rescue him. That he doesn’t support that way of dealing with the problem. That there needs to be talks. That we need to keep seeing these people as human beings. Andâ€¦
23:54:43 TERRY MORAN (OC) Seeing – his captors as human beings?
23:54:48 KATHERINE FOX As human beings. That – and this is, I think, something that’s very, very difficult for other people to understand, that don’t come from that same point of view because this is not at all a validation of kidnapping. He rejects that, as do I.
23:55:01 TERRY MORAN (OC) Well, he’s a man of conviction, clearly. And I want to ask you about that. What was he doing in Iraq? Christian peacemaker teams, what does that mean? What was he actually doing on the ground?
23:55:13 KATHERINE FOX Well, my father’s a Quaker. Long-standing belief in nonviolence for the last 22 years has been his mindset, the way that he lives his life. Specifically, when he arrived, most of his work is with the detainees. And more so with the families in Iraq. Has been very welcomed, very welcomed, by his neighbors and by the people that he’s been working with, trying to work with the government and also with the families to connect them to loved ones that have been held at times illegally and get them released through different channels.
DemocracyNow.org: Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy Among 13,000 to Sign Petition Calling for Release of Kidnapped Aid Workers — there’s over 28,000 the last time I checked the petition at www.freethecpt.org