It has been quite a weekend for the world. As millions gathered around the world to watch the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William (or, as they are now – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) there was something lovely about people coming together to celebrate something good. The fact that two people love one another and want to commit to each other before God should always be cause for a celebration – the fact that they will one day be King and Queen just meant that it was public.
When I awoke this morning, instead of more wedding pictures – came the news that Osama Bin Laden is dead – and that people are partying on the streets.
There is something that does not sit right with me in celebrating someone’s death. Anyone’s death. The atrocities committed at the orders of Bin Laden have been just that – atrocious, but to celebrate a death?
There is no doubt that the way he chose to live his life caused many other unspeakable pain and losses and maybe it is because I am in a slightly melancholy mood, but I can’t help feeling sad about the fact that this man who was made in God’s image – as indeed we all are – chose to use his life to destroy others and whip up a following, masterminding the deaths of thousands and thousands of people.
There is something about the juxtaposition of these two moments that will undoubtedly be remembered in history that reminds me of one week on July, 2005. The world watched the Live8 concerts, Britain celebrated jubilantly at winning the Olympic bid and a city stopped as silence filled the City of London as news began to come through that bombs had been detonated – that people had been killed.
These strange weeks that are filled with such a myriad of emotions seem to me to contain a lesson for each of us. That in the midst of such confusing emotions – joy and elation (maybe dislike and bitterness) to the celebrations of a death, the fear of repercussions, the sigh of relief – we have a God who is above it all and yet stooped down to us and so weeps and celebrate with us. That the Highest of Heaven cares about the lowest on earth. He is, and always will be, Emmanuel – God