With God on Our Side

I often don’t know what I’ll write when I sit in quiet prayer. I didn’t think I’d be led to listen to a Bob Dylan song this morning.

I know I’m not the only one feeling heartsick these days. For so many reasons. But it has been more than I can bear to watch the pomp and circumstance of the visit of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to this country. The dichotomy of the adulation of a Congress that resists the smallest sums for the basic necessities for millions of people it is supposed to represent. And yet lavishly sends billions upon billions of dollars to Ukraine for war. Warmongers.

So now as I’m leavin’
I’m weary as Hell
The confusion I’m feelin’
Ain’t no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And they fall to the floor
That if God’s on our side
He’ll stop the next war

With God on Our Side, Bob Dylan

That is a jarring juxtaposition to the idea of Christmas, Joy to the World, Peace on Earth.

But likely the gravest consequence of war now is this potentially mortal blow to Mother Earth. Militaries are the greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Perhaps the best argument for peace on earth now is the protection and healing of Mother Earth. Including the immediate cessation of all military operations.

Despite all that, I have hope. Another Bob Dylan song is ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’. That is what I see in my Mutual Aid community.

The last U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union before it collapsed, Jack Matlock, wrote last week: “Since President Putin’s major demand is an assurance that NATO will take no further members, and specifically not Ukraine or Georgia, obviously there would have been no basis for the present crisis if there had been no expansion of the alliance following the end of the Cold War, or if the expansion had occurred in harmony with building a security structure in Europe that included Russia.”

But excluding Russia from security structures, while encircling it with armed-to-the-teeth adversaries, was a clear goal of NATO’s expansion. Less obvious was the realized goal of turning Eastern European nations into customers for vast arms sales.

Bob Dylan and the Ukraine crisis by Norman Solomon, Nation of Change, February 23, 2022

“With God on Our Side”

Oh, my name—it ain’t nothin’
My age—it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I’s taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that the land that I live in
Has God on its side

Oh, the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh, the country was young
With God on its side

The Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I’s made to memorize
With guns in their hands
And God on their side

The First World War, boys
It came and it went
The reason for fighting
I never did get
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don’t count the dead
When God’s on your side

The Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And then we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side

I’ve learned to hate the Russians
All through my whole life
If another war comes
It’s them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side

But now we got weapons
Of chemical dust
If fire them we’re forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God’s on your side

Through many dark hour
I’ve been thinkin’ about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can’t think for you
You’ll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side

So now as I’m leavin’
I’m weary as Hell
The confusion I’m feelin’
Ain’t no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And they fall to the floor
That if God’s on our side
He’ll stop the next war

“With God on Our Side” Bob Dylan

Moraine Park, Long’s Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Jeff Kisling

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