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Easter in Baghdad: Peter Dula

March 29th, 2008 by isaac · 1 Comment

A few years ago, someone from our church went to Iraq with the Mennonite Central Committee to work for peace while our country waged war. During the Easter season of 2004, he sent us a letter, a dispatch from the front. Peter Dula wrote to us, “Jesus has indeed risen even if it was a hell of a long time ago and even if there is no evidence of it in Baghdad.”

Peter has written an essay on what it means to celebrate Easter while evil seems to be winning the day. Well worth reading—best essay I’ve read in a few years (but I’m biased). It appears in the March 28th issue of Commonweal Magazine (a Catholic publication—what’s a Mennonite doing talking about the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary?). Here’s the link: “Easter in Baghdad: Theology in the Shadow of War.”

Dula leads us into a place where silence is the only possible thing to say—where worship is a political protest against the powers of evil, but one where we cry Maranatha “while our eyes swim with tears,” as Barth put it (CD IV/2: 789). Peter Dula writes,

We do see Jesus-the broken and bloody body of Christ-scattered across the margins of the American empire…. If theology is helpful it is not because it allows us to say anything, but because it pushes us toward silence; it unveils our ignorance and makes it hurt.

Tags: theology

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