"Our hearts beating, our tongues dry, we gaze behind and look ahead, time’s destructions written in the palms of dedicated men."

Man was never meant to kill man. The beauty of man is reflective of God, of His likeness, of His image. From His holiness came the sanctity of life. Came the effervescence of it. To live is the finest glory. To die, an honor to a life well-lived. From the entrance of death came the beauty of old age, and the tribute created in the lives which are spun from it. The reward of the finished life is those who have just began, and those which go on to remember him, to quote that loved one’s proverbs, to hold their images in their hands.

Man was never meant to kill man. What kind of God would destroy what He’d created? Yet, in the earth, there were predators before predation, scavengers before there was want, creatures that feast on death before ever breath was lost. Man is not meant to be part of them. Man is God’s representation, and the feats he accomplishes, the heights he can attain, the visualizations he dusts with his hands, the rise and fall of his voice, all facets of heaven’s artistry, God has given to him. To run far, to excel in strength, to carry great courage, to show wisdom in times of study, in times of pressure, to mold and to make instruments for living, for travel, for admiration, these things spun of the mind, of workmanship, are all what God had designed for him.

Man was never meant to kill man. God planned relationships. Families, cities, countries, nations, all unities of men of common culture, varied thinking molded to enhance one other. Man was singular, yet he was connected, and in those connections, satisfied, joyful, long-lived. There was to be no hatred amongst them, no jealousy nor envy nor bitterness. No complaints, no criticisms, no selfish ambition. With the ideals of God, with the planning of God, with the honor that is His, from the depths of God’s being, out of His majesty, would His image-made creation now foster growth, and multiplication, and replenishment.

Man was never meant to kill man. Yet, God knew he would. He knew each circumstance, each unreasonableness, and those who would applaud it, and those who would stand in their defense. He knew the battles that would come from it, knew the victors and those who would fall in defeat. He knew the innocents swept alongside, those lives stolen from the beauty He wanted for them. He knew the valiant, the terrified, those who fired the arrows, swung the swords, raised a weapon, and those who would take the hit and fall and gasp, and those who would survive despite the chaos of it. He knew and created men anyway. He knew their names. He recorded their faces. He determined from them to show who He was in their rescue, in their peace.

Man was never meant to kill man. Yet man has. Man did. And those of us stand today in their honor, our mouths silenced for a moment from what words we might form, from well-written speeches crafted by practiced wordsmiths, those sincere, those insincere. Activists. Followers-on. To, in this moment, be as God made man. Our hearts beating, our tongues dry, we gaze behind and look ahead, time’s destructions written in the palms of dedicated men. Uniforms. Epaulets. Shined boots splattered with dirt and blood and memories. And we pray to the God who knew, who knows, who counts all of them, who bends low to see, who stretches out to rescue, to soothe, and planned before death, before life, before before, when what He would do was only an inkling He would accomplish, to, from man killing man, one day, offer an ending, and in the waiting until then, their efforts wasted or not wasted, keep their faces always lifted before Him. His image on display.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Suzanne D. Williams, Author