The nights of weeping feel endless these days. I can’t help but ask when the joy of morning will come. The promise of the dawning joy is woven throughout this week’s texts. Lamentation and yearning lean in toward hope and healing in a way I desperately wish were true in the world.
I live and work in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN) where police shot and killed yet another young, black man on Saturday. The following day there was conflict between Pride organizers and Black Lives Matter organizers. Last week, a man in South Dakota was given a death sentence because the jury thought he would enjoy prison too much as a gay man. More than 1500 children remain separated from their parents with no way to quickly reunite them. Today the Supreme Court upheld the Travel Ban. I am deeply saddened at the level of fear-fueled hatred and violence in the world around me. I see no evidence of Christ in any of these actions, nor in the many similar acts around the world. We are in the depths. What is our cry to God? Is it for justice? Is it for healing? Is it for peace? Will we be the hope and steadfast love people look for in the Body of Christ?
As David laments for Saul and Jonathan, will we take up the cry of anguish for those who have lost their lives in war, in violence, in suicide? Will we see a sibling in the face of the stranger whose life ended far too early? How will we remember that God’s steadfast love and God’s mercies are new every morning? Where do we find evidence of this Truth when the night seems to be endless?
While we struggle under the weight of grief, suffering, and lamentations, do we hear Paul’s call to create a fair balance between our abundance and our neighbors’ need? Jesus told us that he came so that we might have life and have it abundantly. He didn’t mean just a select few but all of God’s beloved children. Not just the wealthy and whole but also the poor and the broken were promised abundance. How do we share all of what we have so as to create a fair balance with those who are dismissed, demeaned, devalued, dehumanized by those who seek to maintain their power?
Grief years for healing. Love seeks balance. The tension builds in the gospel text as Jesus heals two people. The father who pleads with Jesus on behalf of his daughter demonstrates a desperate faith in Jesus’ ability to heal. Similarly, an unclean woman grasps the hem of Jesus’ clothing believing that’s all she needs for healing to take place. Both daughters are gifted with new life. Do we approach Jesus with the same faith, believing a word or a touch can heal the sickness in and around us? How do we respond to those who turn to the Body of Christ, desperately seeking healing? What do we have to say to those who are grieving as our streets flow with blood? What do we have to say to those children locked up at the border? What do we have to say to our LGBTQ+ siblings whose lives are still at risk all around the world?
Where are you as you prepare to speak the Word yet again? Are you lamenting the losses of too many young people to war, to violence, to suicide? Are you finding places were joy shines through? Are you working to create a fair balance of gifts and resources in your community? Are you caught up in the journey from being a nameless outcast to a seen and validated daughter of God? Where is the Spirit calling you?
Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is an author and the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ in Minneapolis, MN. You can find links to her blog, video series, and books at Beachtheology.com.
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