Rachel Weeps for Her Children

By Charles Kiker

December, 2012

We have been assaulted, insulted, and sickened by the deaths of innocent children in recent days. It was not the first incidence of a “slaughter of the innocents.” Prayerfully it will be the last. But from what we know of the history of human cruelty that is not likely.

We can go all the way back to the Book of Exodus, to the infancy of Moses, for an early demonstration. The Pharaoh of Egypt was getting nervous about all those Hebrew boys being born in his realm, and put out a decree ordering the midwives to kill all the baby boys as they were born. How many were killed? We don’t really know. But Moses was saved by the trickery of his sister and the soft-heartedness of Pharaoh’s daughter.

That incident is echoed in the infancy narrative of Jesus as told by Matthew. Joseph was warned in a dream, and took the child to Egypt, out of Herod’s grasp.

The magi were called to Herod, and they told him of the birth of this king-child. Herod was not pleased about a possible usurper to his throne. The magi were warned in a dream of Herod’s evil intent, and did not report back to him as instructed. Seeing that he had been tricked by the magi, Herod went into a rage, and ordered that all the male babes of Bethlehem under two years old be put to death. Matthew remembered this verse from Jeremiah:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
     weeping and loud lamentation
Rachel weeping for her children,
     She refused to be consoled, because they are no more.

Rachel has wept for her children repeatedly throughout history. She wept for the Jewish children of Germany, gassed and incinerated by the cruelty of Hitler. She wept for Native American children when a blue coated general said that Indian babies were like nits that grow up to be lice, so gave the order to kill them all. She wept when little Amish children were gunned down irrationally in their school a few years back, and she must have sobbed inconsolably a week ago when twenty first graders and six of their teachers and administrators were inexplicably gunned down with an assault rifle—a weapon that the shooter had earlier used to kill his mother. And then the shooter took his own life.

I think it was Joe Stalin who said, “The death of one person is a tragedy. The death of a thousand people is a statistic.” And Joe did his part to create many statistics among his own people.

Lest those children and adults of Newtown, Connecticut are thought of simply as statistics, let’s remember them with their names, one by one:

Charlotte Bacon, 6 years old; Daniel Barden, 7; Olivia Engel, 6; Josephine Gay, 7; Ana Marquez-Greene, 6; Dylan Hockley, 6; Madeleine Hsu, 6; Catherine Hubbard, 6; Chase Kowalski, 7; Jesse Lewis, 6; James Mattioli, 6; Grace McDonnell, 7; Emilie Parker, 6; Jack Pinto, 6; Noah Pozmer, 6; Caroline Previdi, 6; Jessica Rekos, 6; Avielle Richman, 6; Benjamin Wheeler, 6; Allison Wyatt, 6

And the adults:

Dawn Hochsprung, school principal; Mary Sherlach, school psychologist; Rachel Davino, teacher; Anne Marie Murphy, teacher; Lauren Rousseau, teacher; Victoria Soto, teacher. Dawn, and Mary, and Victoria gave their own lives in an attempt to save their children, and in fact may have saved some of them.

Let us remember also Nancy Lanza, mother of the shooter; and the troubled soul who was the gunman, Adam Lanza.

A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation,
     Rachel weeping for her children.
She refused to be consoled, because they are no more.

Let us weep with Rachel for these God’s children, and for all the people of Newtown, Connecticut.


2 thoughts on “Rachel Weeps for Her Children

  1. Charles, many of us are weeping with Rachael. The media glare makes that possible. Pictures of lives cut too short and names that could be our neighbors.
    What if their names were Maezol Khan, Noor Syed, or Naeem Ullah? What if the media didn’t show us their photos? Or interview their distraught relatives? Or tell us what gifts will never be unwrapped? What if their deaths weren’t caused by one “troubled soul” with access to assault weapons but rather our own tax funded government? Wouldn’t Rachel still be weeping?
    Unfortunately, the slaughter of the innocents continues without media attention. What I shared at my Quaker Meeting last Sunday is that we also need to be concerned about the children being killed by our “precise” Drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen. Not just one distressing occurrence like in Newtown CT but ongoing deaths. In addition, the double tap strikes are killing family members and First Responders rushing to the injured. Our government claims “terrorists” use this technique so what does that make us?
    Rachel is sobbing inconsolably for Newtown CT and drone strike victims – we should be doing something to stop these atrocities. .

  2. Sharon, I agree. But I was responding specifically to the Newtown Massacre. Why don’t you write a blog regarding drones and other atrocities and send it to Alan Bean. My bet is he would post it, either on the FOJ or the Mustard Seed blog. Peace on earth! Charles Kiker

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