The previous day, I had visited with my new friends: a refugee family from the Congo living in Cleveland. “There will be fireworks,” I told them. “Oh no!” The parents exchanged looks brimming over with buried memories. “We don’t like fireworks. In the war, they mean death.” That’s why I wanted them to be prepared, I told them. They would hear many explosions. It would be important to know that they are safe.
As the gunpowder smoke settles, and the stink of its breath is erased from the nostrils, Lamb of God, have mercy on those whose dreams are disturbed by the memory of death.
On Tuesday, news of missile tests and military exercises disturbed the holiday-desk-watchers, pulled them back into a world half of creation away; exploded the red, white, and blue bubble into which their daydreams had retreated.
Lamb of God, have mercy on those for whom war and rumours of war never cease; who find that it passes understanding to dream of peace.
In the evening, on a suburban field, a grown child rests her head on my hip as she lies in the grass. We giggle to hear, behind us, a small child narrate the colours of the fireworks exploding overhead into flowers and fountains. He is rooting for the green ones. “Where are my green guys?” he encourages them. “There they are!”
Lamb of God, extend his innocence. Grant us your peace.
Rosalind C Hughes is a British-American Episcopal priest serving a small parish in Euclid, Ohio.