17 October 2019
MERCY, JUSTICE AND LIVING IN GOD'S WORLD
Watching the news tonight at a friend's place while we are on holiday was fascinating. There were basically two main items.
One was about killer cows. “Four people have been trampled to death by cows in just over eight weeks this summer, prompting British farmers and the Ramblers Association to warn yesterday of the potential dangers “..A farmers union representative added “Cows are not generally dangerous, They are naturally curious, rather than naturally aggressive, as well as short-sighted, and they will often come right up to you just to see who is in the field with them." But it was important,” he said, “not to let your dog get between a cow and its calf. “
The other was about the release of the Lockerbie bomber -the only one caught anyway- on compassionate grounds. As the beat-up grew louder and the efforts to paint any decision made by Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Minister of Justice [ this was the devolved Scottish parliament making the decision ] as a political one sucking up to Libya's flakey President Gaddafi for oil, it was clear what the decision should and would be.
Those freed from the decision-making bayed for the blood of the terminally ill man in the name of justice. The families of the bombing victims in the USA were quoted as not being able to see why he should be shown mercy, and the opposition parties in the Scottish coalition government objected loudly to his release – getting plenty of primetime publicity for themselves in doing so – but strangely they didn't take the paths available to them to influence the decision.
The Scotsman newspaper reported that it was established that Megrahi – the prisoner- is about to die, and of a particularly painful disease and that Scottish legal custom dictates that he should be set free. The Washington Times thundered that he is a mass murderer..”Mercy for this man would be a terrible mistake,- a betrayal of all he killed...and everyone who lives under the threat of international terrorism”
I wonder what could have more effect on tempering the hatreds underlying the fanatical terrorist movements?. Keeping a terminally ill man in prison until he died? What satisfaction do the grieving families get from that? - The “eye for an eye” retaliation which keeps feuds alive and fuels further conflicts.. Or the recognition of our common humanity and having compassion on a very ill man even if he has been the only representative of the “enemy” who has been able to be brought to justice .
Kenny MacAskill followed a legal process steeped in our Christian heritage . He was not swayed by the fact that his actions would be exploited by both the Libyans as propaganda, and by his political opponents and the threats .that this would affect the Scottish economy. Releasing Megrahi is the right thing to do. The law of Scotland [and hopefully of New Zealand] is not about vengeance or politics, it is solely concerned with dispensing justice – and justice tempered with mercy. The man is dying; let God be his judge
The killer cows were not destroyed for their actions either, tragic as the deaths were. Walkers, especially those with dogs, were told to keep away from cows who would defend their calves from the threat posed when dogs and humans separated them. They needed to recognise the risks of being with animals and learn to live respecting those boundaries..
In this world where it seems where people claim so many “rights' we need to remember that we do not have the final word. God has made us to live with one another and respect one another. Jesus tells and shows us that God shows us mercy and compassion and gives us the chance to start again and be able to forgive.
Lets us pray that showing justice with mercy in the case of Megrahi, reaches heart and minds and brings some glimmers of peace.
Rev. Margaret Anne Low
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