The Death of Osama Bin Laden – the Risen Life of Jesus Christ

May 2, 2011 at 9:57 am 3 comments

The Death of Osama Bin Laden – the Risen Life of Jesus Christ

Sunday night, along with other Americans, I watched as President Obama announced that Al Queda leader Osama Bin Laden had been killed by United States Special Forces, nearly ten years after the cataclysmic attacks of September 11, 2001. All of us were affected by that attack, which was masterminded and ordered by Bin Laden. Those of us with connections to the New York City and Washington areas were affected deeply. Some of us participated in cleanup and counseling efforts at the site, and many of us have visited Ground Zero. Some of the members of our congregation have served in Afghanistan or Iraq, or have had family members or friends who have done so. For some of us, the mere threat of further terrorist attacks has caused us anxiety and worry.

As Christians, we can be thankful that a person who was a threat to the peace of the world has been restrained from doing further harm to innocent people. As Lutherans, we believe that this is the proper function of good government – to promote well-being and defend the innocent. “Good government” is included in Luther’s Small Catechism’s definition of what we pray for in asking God to “give us this day our daily bread.” We can be thankful that the executive branch of our government and the members of our armed forces and intelligence services served with honor, integrity, skill, and courage in pursuing and bringing down a man who had devoted his life to killing not just Americans, but citizens of other nations.

And yet we should not rejoice in the death of Osama Bin Laden. It is unseemly for Christians to rejoice in the death of any person, no matter how much violence or mayhem he or she has caused. I am reminded of a Jewish midrash on the Exodus story, the same Exodus story which was read at our Easter Vigil. According to this commentary on Scripture, the angels rejoiced to see “the Egyptians dead on the seashore,” (Exodus 14:30b), until God stopped them with a word: “We cannot rejoice when my children lie dead.” Although rebels rise up against God, and must either be converted or restrained from doing further evil, war and killing even in self-defense is only a stopgap solution to the problem of evil. The Lutheran tradition has always maintained the right of governments to defend the innocent, and yet our salvation will never come by guns and bullets.

We can rejoice, however, in the saving act of God in Jesus Christ, that whether evil seems to triumph or whether by God’s grace we are protected from its power to kill the body, we are assured that no power of sin, death, or evil can ultimately separate us from God or each other. In the Easter season, let us celebrate no one’s death, but rather rejoice in the continuing life of Jesus among us. When the community of Christ gathers on Sundays and at other times, he comes among us in Word and water, bread and wine, and by the Holy Spirit makes of us his body in the world. Let us rededicate ourselves to the call of God to rejoice in the risen Christ, who will never die, and who will reign forever. Amen


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. klh52  |  May 2, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Thank you!

  • 2. shepherdesswrites  |  May 2, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Jesus said ‘Peace be with you’ and he showed them his wounds.

    This is what brings us peace–not the death of any tyrant. Peace never comes from death; only from resurrection.

  • 3. Peace « Shepherdess Writes  |  May 2, 2011 at 11:20 am

    […] Several wise people–far wiser than I–have already been writing about Osama Bin Laden’s death since the announcement last night.  As I find more posts worth reading I may add them later. Found an interesting one here.  […]


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