An enemy of mine has died. A man known for his malice and bitterness, who seemed ready to attack anyone at any time, and by our laws a great criminal as well. By many accounts, I and my friends should be glad he is gone, for a threat has been removed from us, and his evil is at an end. However, I will weep for him my enemy this week, beginning now through next Sunday. I may continue it for a week after that, as well. Because with his death, I cannot reach him any more, to speak to him nor address his reasons for the way he felt and acted. No one can, neither those of us who would have changed him, nor those who would have cheered him. He is no more, as we understand things in this world.
In his death, I am reminded myself of the finality of certain things, and the fact that we all are wicked in one respect or another. The prophet Daniel was much beloved of God, yet he was constantly praying for forgiveness, for his nation and even for himself (Dan 9:4-19) . Isaiah, when he saw the Court of Heaven, did not speak of gladness and delight, but was full of woe, for he said, “I am a man of unclean lips!” (Isa 6:5). We are all of us guilty; not one among us is perfect, nor fit to speak as the equal to God.
I say all this, because this is the matter. I am a Christian, which is not to say anything except this: Jesus found me in need, and healed me. In my case, this meant forgiving egregious sins, and setting my life on a better course. My commission from the Lord, then, is to heal as I have been healed, to teach as I have been taught, and above those, to love my fellow man as God has loved me.
‘Etosha’ is remembrance for those gone, especially those who are enemies. This is so, that when these enemies come before God, there shall be no charge against them by my spirit. This is so I may pray for mercy for them, just as I received it when I was God’s enemy. This is so I may not become proud, or pretend that their death ends my responsibility. Most of those who were my enemies, had friends, surely almost all had families, who grieve for their loss. Etosha is to be one with them now, even if I could not do so before.
There are no special rules for Etosha. One need not dress, or eat, or even speak a certain way. It is not tied to a calendar, nor only to a limited or minimum duration. Those who will practice it, choose for themselves the way. It is as easy, or hard, as one is willing to choose.
I challenge the Christians here, to consider that we have a responsibility for Etosha, to remember our enemies, even when they are no more, so that they will always be our neighbors and kin as fellow people, and not merely disposable, to be forgotten when they annoy us no more. That is why I bring this up here. If you will not do this, it is no offense, nor any special honor if you do. But it is something I feel I should mention, all the same.