Saturday, November 04, 2006

A Mother's Prayer by Celeste Zappala

Celeste Zappala is a United Methodist Christian whose son, Sherwood, was killed in Baghdad on April 26, 2004. This reflection was written by Celeste to you in response to the news that nearly 2800 soldiers and countless innocents have now lost their lives in the Iraq war.

Celeste was recently a guest preacher at the Eastham United Methodist Church, as well as the Orleans United Methodist Church on Sunday Oct 15th. United Methodist Church Community sponsored this life long Methodist from Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mother Zappala was also a guest speaker at Arlington East the Human Cost of War, as well as on deck at Coast Guard beachhead for Arlington East from sun rise to sun set to honor all those who lost their lives in a war that didn't have to be.

What Does the Lord Require?

"On March 6, 2004, the day after I last saw Sherwood alive, I spent wild hours alone in my garden trying to understand how it was that my son was going to Iraq, and fighting my overwhelming sense of dread. I found myself thinking, "the war began a year ago-despite our protests and prayer, and since then I have been hoping something would happen so that Sher would not have to go, something to let this cup pass. But it is ours to drink now, along with the millions of others who are caught in these struggles. What arrogance for me to have thought we would not be touched by the grief of the World." I did not yet understand what the grief of the world could mean.

On April 26, 2004 my soul was seared by the reality of the death of my son in an explosion in Baghdad. A thousand times I have wished the fire ball that destroyed him could have taken me instead, and I know now the grief of the World in part is known by every parent who would have given their life to protect their child.

In the many months since that day I have found myself on a path I never would have chosen, a path I have struggled with and cursed, and yet I am bound to it now, and realize it is the path I must honor in all that I do. I have felt the relentless, power of the Loving Creator pull my spirit upright, away from the seduction of despair. I have seen the path in the profound question of scripture "and what does the Lord require of you, but to try to do justice, try to love mercy, try to walk humbly with God," to the light that the darkness can not overcome.

For me the path must be to seek the truth, for it is in the power of the truth that we are all set free to seek the Peace we know God wants for us.

But just now, I weep for the families who will learn in the days to come that the one they prayed for is now among the fallen. I pray for their struggle, for their brokenness, for the future they will now know with out the person they held so dear. I can not help but feel a terrible sense of failure, even though we worked so hard, we have not stopped the killing.

What does the Lord require of us? Faithfulness?

I struggle with my anger, my helplessness, and yet surely as breath, I trust that nothing, nothing will separate us from the love of God, and that is both comfort and command.

The command means one can not turn away from that knowledge, and the responsibility
it instills. The path Jesus laid for us is to love the Lord with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves.

In the despair, war, brokenness and grief of the World only that mysterious, confounding path of Love can lead to truth and peace. "

With hope,
Celeste Zappala


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