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A young mother in Finland was concerned with flag waving here in the States, this is my reply.  Back to 911
The issue is the perception that singing the Star Spangled Banner and
waving the red, white and blue is akin to war mongering. I am going
to assume it's a cultural communication problem, not our first and
won't be our last. I'm going to assume that Porro's heart is in the
right place because when I step back for a minute I can see that she
was asking for clarification, asking for reassurance. She was made
afraid by how media can distort the truth.

I'm going to assume that as a young mother she looks at her daughter
and is frightened for the future. But the mis-perception and how that
was communicated hurt a lot of folks who are already hurting. It
falls upon me to attempt to mend the damage without inflaming
feelings anymore.

That's why sometimes I feel very old, very tired and very sad.

This is not going to be a list where we argue one side or the other
in this conflict. If that were constructive all barbers and all cab
drivers would be running the United Nations and solving the world's
problems. We are just ordinary individuals who have extra ordinary
communication reach. We must be careful what we write for our reach
goes far and folks are already hurting. If you're horribly frightened
and can't cope with it, write to me. Have I ever made myself
unavailable? Come to me in voice chat and let's talk it out.

The Queen of England, in a show of solidarity, played the Star
Spangled Banner at the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
This has never happened in the over two hundred years of having
relations with the UK. Does that mean she wants America to go to war?
No, it means she wanted to show respect, solidarity and a commitment
to America as the Sovereign head of her nation. Since the tragedy
happened in America, playing the national anthem was to honor all who
died on our soil that sad Tuesday. I won't weary your hearts further
with the count and the amount of foreign born who also died, or the
amount of American Muslims also slain. Suffice it to say everyone was
hurt, all countries, all economies. But it happened here. More
Americans suffered real and personal losses.

Take care when translating our grief by your own countries standards.
We've seen already on this list how this doesn't work out on simple
clay issues. Ask questions, don't indict. Ask for clarification and
admit something confuses you, don't assume something's one way or the
other if you don't know. It's really a maturational process, an inter
cultural communication process, I feel, and not an intentional insult
and that's why I'm dealing with this in this manner.

I know when ever I sing the national anthem, for a baseball game or a
school gathering, I weep. I weep for I do love my country so much. It
is mother to me. I'm sure that singing love to a nurturing figure is
where a lot of our hearts are at. Not war mongering. We sing to honor
our dead. We sing to unite our voices and our hearts in grief. This
is how it is and how it should be perceived.

In summation for this sermon I ask you to turn to your hymnals...naw,
never mind I'll copy the verses here for our ease.

This is the song I've heard more in our news, on the streets and
sadly in my own kitchen.

Amazing Grace.

1. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

2. 'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved,
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed.

3. Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come.
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

4. When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun.

5. The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

6. As we now lay our garments down
Upon our beds to rest,
So Death ere long disrobes us all
Of what we now possess.

7. Yes, when this heart and flesh shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the vail,
A life of joy and peace.

8. How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
In a believer's ear
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds
And drives away his fear.

[This one means a lot to me...and there's a cross for me.]
9. Must Jesus bear the cross alone
And all the world go free
No, there's a cross for everyone
And there's a cross for me.

10. Shall I be carried to the skies
On flow'ry beds of ease,
While others fight to win the prize
And sail through bloody seas?

11. Amazing grace has set me free,
To touch, to taste, to feel;
The wonders of accepting love,
Have made me whole and real.

This song I heard more than the Star Spangled Banner. I'd like to add
Rock of Ages, for before I became a Muslim I was a Christian and the
second verse is my my hand no gift I bring, only to thy
cross I cling...we cling on our faith to get us through these hard
times. Faith keeps fear at bay.

Let's maintain a spiritual and loving vibe here. No political
arguments, no praise-blame games, no fear spreading for Fear is the
opposite of Faith. Sing what ever songs of healing you have,
Christian, Muslim or Jew. Sing what ever songs of peace you have
whether Wicca, Pagan, or Rationalist. Sing what ever songs you have
to ferry the dead over the river Stix. But don't mistake the songs
folks sing at this time for anything other than the great wail of

Now, Christians...sing along with me here.

Rock of Ages.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
>From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law's demands;
These for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone:
In my hand no price I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
And behold Thee on Thy throne,
Rock of ages cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

Maybe, just maybe, if we sing songs of mercy, forgiveness, love and
redemption the perceptions of others and ourselves might be changed.
Even James, who has "issues" with his religious past, sang Rock of
Ages with me and that just made me weep anew. 

Now, clay nice. No accusations, no war mongering, no political
debates or I'll have to don my Reverend NoraJean robe again and it's
too heavy for this old grandmother.




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