Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Seven o’clock on a gorgeous summer morning in Philadelphia. Birds are singing. The sky is a clear blue punctuated by a few wispy clouds. Walking the dog, I see a squirrel, two bunnies. The grass is green and dewey. No humidity. This promises to be a beautiful summer Sunday… one of many perfect days of this spring and early summer.

If I didn’t read the newspaper and listen to the radio, I would never guess there have been more than 200 murders in my city so far this year… right on track with the 400+ of 2006. I wouldn’t have a clue about pollution, global warming, over-population, terrorism, or a war in Iraq.

This afternoon I’ll sit on my back porch. I’ll fire up the charcoal grill, adding no doubt to the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, if only ever so slightly. My good wife will prepare a salmon which we’ll grill on a plank. Increasingly I question the rightness of eating animals but I lack the discipline and conviction to be a vegan… at least so far.

Some say the age of miracles is past. Others say it never was. But miracles are all around us. Besides the miracles of the natural world, of our own minds and bodies, I am awed by the miracle that in a few minutes I will click on “publish” and this bit of drivvle will be available to hundreds of millions… should any care to read it.

Some say the devil is a myth. But evil is palpable in this sorry world.
You need not go to the inner cities or to the Sudan or to the slums of India, or to Bagdad. Go to “BDSM” on Google and see the sick pictures posted on the thousands of sites that such a simple search will produce. I can only assume those sites (sights?) proliferate because they interest many viewers. I also assume that enough are paying customers that the creators find it worth their whiles to maintain them. What is it in the human heart that can equate suffering with sex? That finds such imagery arousing?

What nation can claim never to have had a genocide? Not America. No nation in Europe. Probably none in Africa or Asia either.

And yet I feel hope on this Sunday morning. The Cold War ended without a nuclear holocaust. Apartheid ended without a bloodbath. Norther Ireland seems to be settling down after 500 years of strife.

If a caring God is in fact watching this not-so-Divine Comedy, perhaps s/he will forgive us our trespasses on this beautiful morning. Perhaps I can be forgiven for enjoying the magnificent day s/he made… a day that belies the pollution that fouls the environment. Perhaps I can be forgiven the hope I feel in the face of the murder, cruelty, inequality, and sickness that poisons the human spirit and blemishes human history.



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