Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lully, Lullay, Innocents of Holiness

It’s the 5th day of Christmas, the Feast Day of the Holy Innocents on the Orthodox calendar, the day observed of Matthew’s account of Herod’s murder of children in his efforts to seek and destroy the Messiah.

It is, as you might imagine, in these United States, a day most observed in the breach.  It just doesn’t fit in with Santa and happy wishes and family dinners, this normative reality of killing fields.

And so do the scholars argue, as if the killing of children has not been the blood sport of kings for a very long time now.

Isn’t that the funny part?

That it, this killing, should seem so incredible that it would be doubted.

I understand the doubting of Jesus as Messiah, as The Risen One, as The Christ.  That doubt makes sense.

But doubt the slaughter?  That’s like doubting the air we breathe.

It’s even funnier – in a macabre sort of way – when considered that it is not any slaughter they doubt, but merely this one.



‘They’ say Matthew (of gospel-writing fame) was out to prove Jesus by linking him to the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures.

They then say that Matthew’s proof-texting meant he made up stories to fit prophecies.

Where’s the logic in that?

Isn’t it equally logical that Matthew did what we all do – look at the events actually happening and seek to ascribe meaning to them?

It’s not the events that are suspect . . . it’s the meaning.

So isn’t the more important question not whether there was a slaughter of children . . . but how do we equate the Prince of Peace and the God who sent him with such a slaughter?


There’s a horror in the land 
in Jesus’ time and in ours too
the slaughter of our own young
(never, never, never forget 
Herod slaughtered his own)
The Slaughter of the Innocents
is the murder of our own innocence
who can walk away from that?
Of course Rachel weeps!
How could she not?
But fear not her tears . . . 
fear the day her grief moves
from tears to anger
that will be a dangerous day
for the killing ones
the day Rachel’s lack of comfort
comes for us


No comments:

Post a Comment