Today is Torture Tuesday. At least that’s what some of my friends are calling it (with a sort of side-ways smile). Really, though, there’s nothing to joke about.
Today is International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The UN declared June 26 this day in 1997, prior to Guantanamo and Bagram and the countless other ridiculous human rights violations that have occurred since then. Sadly there has been a need for centuries of human history to support victims of torture. Christians, in particular, must let all who are victims of torture know that we love them.
Our interdependence and basic humanity instills a truth: loving our neighbors near and far is how we love our God, Jesus. It is the great commandment.
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22: 36-40
As many ways as people suffer there are ways to communicate that we love them. Even if those who suffer are behind blocked walls and closed off from contact, our love is with them. Faith convinces us that the energy of love can pass through anything.
All over the world today love is making movement. Many people shall vigil on street corners and others will gather in community spaces to learn, listen, pray, advocate and hope. I’m going to write to prisoners and let them know that I love them. I shall also call the White House again and tell Mr. Obama how disappointed I am that he hasn’t delivered on his campaign promise to close Guantanamo, an illegal prison. Plus, I’ll meditate on my memories of experiences of solidarity and pray a lot for redemption.
Loving is a moving energy, we have to act when we feel it. The incarnation makes me believe that these acts build God’s reign. With Christ in God’s reign, love heals and sets us free.
As long as there are victims of torture on our planet, no one is free. Because of my faith the body of Christ, as I blogged about earlier I believe all humanity- and the rest of creation, for that matter- is completely interdependent. We are one, like it or not. As a lover of African philosophy and culture I am particularly fond of the teachings on ubuntu. It teaches we are all people because other people recognize we are people. We are more whole and true together. Indeed, as Christianity proclaims and ubuntu echoes, “no one is free when others are oppressed.”
Jesus should have been the last person to be tortured and killed. We have been missing the mark of Truth for a long time. Today is a good day to get things right. Let’s turn our hearts and ways toward Christ, toward Love, and know the freedom that is ours. Our solidarity and unity connects us to the suffering everyday. May our actions today, on Torture Tuesday, and everyday give witness to the powerful transforming love of Christ. May Love set us free!