Archbishop Rowan Williams–who happened to be in New York City five years ago on September 11th–offered some thoughts today. Here is an excerpt:
Last week, we had a visit from one of the most senior rabbis in Israel;
and among much else we talked candidly about the bloody conflict of
recent months between Israel and Lebanon. The rabbi made no political
points. But he said that when in the Bible God tells Moses to take off
his shoes in the divine presence, the Jewish sages had interpreted this
to mean that we couldn’t meet God if we were protected against the
uneven and unyielding and perhaps stony or thorny ground. The same,
said the rabbi, when we meet the human beings who are made in God’s
image. Those who are responsible for violence of any kind, even when
they think it is in a just cause, need to take off their shoes and
recognise what it is like when flesh and blood are hurt. Those who
think they are naturally and permanently protected from such hurt, or
who have forgotten what life is like for most human beings, need to
remember how thin is the partition that shields them.
And they need to do this not in a spirit of panic and dread, but with a
long-term vision of what might one day be the foundation of lasting
peace – the conviction, felt in our very nerves and blood, that
another’s suffering is my problem too. Terrorism is the absolute
negation of any such recognition. And in the long run, what makes it
impossible is ‘taking off our shoes’, coming to terms with what we
share as mortal beings who have immortal value.
Thanks to Neil at Catholic Sensibility for the link.