So ill--in an isolated instance of seeming compassion, Government allowed Ibahim Idris repatriation to Sudan, where he died in the care of his mother, age 60.
He never married, never found work.
Welcome back, dear reader. It's good to meet and pray. This evening we recover to the attention what can never be easy to notice, what will at best offer a momentary surrender. The reward for mourning the death of someone in our family, the reacquaintance with colleagues at the memorial of an employer--at times of loss we have little to take from such moments, except each other. I suggest again, that's why we are here.
One of the beautiful portions of our tradition is the litany--I'm not so much a singer as the Peace Poets, but their teaching style when we take up a new verse for an action--like a litany, we say it over and over together.
"A Beautiful Sound" we sing, It is the breaking of chains! ... let them go home, let them go home, let them go home today!
--you can listen to the song again here.
When I feel this song's powerful hope, what first comes to memory--the fact we're under the hood, sometimes its day 5, others its day 10, we feel the fast. The sway, shoulders touching, their can be a little bit of a lifting, a sloughing off of the tiredness, a euphoria even. Not long lasting, but the singing summons up at times, almost released with the cadence. Let them go home today!
Ibrahim came home to his mother. He had, not all that we would have wanted from our Government for him, or his family, but let's stay will him at home with her for a moment. He arrives home and for seven years, she must have been a saint, waking to her prayer answered, discovering someone with diabetes, high blood pressure, described as "a sickly shut-in, mentally deteriorating" so she will come to find--he has come home wounded.
If Ibrahim did eleven years at Guantanamo, if his torture was both before and during that time, mourning his death is to mourn these nineteen years pain.
The breaking of chains is a beautiful sound. We still see a path full of hope. We have found--a way.
When I listen to this story in our context of Lent--their are Biblical scenes that will come up the pinks and oranges of a cooling desert, an ancient Jerusalem Temple, a grove of olives. Their are a secondary set of images too, if I follow the readings, and they do help hear Ibrahim's lament. Perhaps he is one of the people we meet on our journey with Jesus. He will have an exchange with Jesus that we may not be able to hear.
Someone says they heard something. Someone else heard it different. The gesture was a touch on his diabetic feet. Yes, there was a bowl with water. Several people disagree whether Jesus washed Ibrahim's feet.
What do you believe?
Source: <https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/11/us/ibrahim-idris-dead.html> accessed 24 Feb. 2021