A lot went down in the last two weeks:
- The Eric Garner verdict.
- The growing case against Bill Cosby.
- And, in my circles, a good deal of despair at the state (and direction) of the churches of Christ in relation to gender roles.
Add to that the daily stream of deaths, divorces, disappointments and disasters, and you'll find a Facebook feed full of dismay.
In all the hub bub, some people said things they shouldn't have said. Some people ran away with their hands covering their ears. Some people groped for solutions.
I like the solution-seeking. It's my go-to reaction when things get hard. When the world seems especially dark, I try to light the whole thing with my one tiny match. I suppose that sounds noble. But if I'm being honest, I think it's less noble and more desperate. Desperate with a hint of doubt.
When things go wrong, I scramble to fix them, because, maybe, I feel like I need to--Like it's my job to heal and make whole, to pray peace into place and command love into action, and not God's. Too, I wonder if I don't jump into work for the same reason others fight and still others set to flight--because I can't bear to feel the weight of the dark.
On my post about Ferguson and the power of love someone commented, "In an ideal world this would be great. But we don't live in an ideal world." No, we don't. And while I can say all day, "But it could be!" I know the truth: It won't ever be. Not until Jesus comes back.
Which is why, as we consider the fallen and falling state of our world, two things matter:
1. Our willingness to mourn.
2. Our commitment to hope.
In a suffering world, part of our responsibility as Christians is to feel the fall, to empathize with those affected and afflicted by darkness, to mourn with those who mourn. That means we can't stick our heads in the sand, eating cupcakes and watching Hallmark movies. We need to let ourselves feel the heavy weight of violence, hatred, and evil.
And, at the same time, we are compelled to hope, to imagine and anticipate a certain, better future.
Reading tonight, looking for wisdom, I found this in Romans, a word from Paul on the pain of living pre-perfection and the power of hope. I think it's as good a place as any to end. Let it be a reminder that groaning is right and good. And that groaning won't last forever:
For all of creation is waiting, yearning for the time when the children of God will be revealed. You see, all of creation has collapsed into emptiness, not by its own choosing, but by God’s. Still He placed within it a deep and abiding hope that creation would one day be liberated from its slavery to corruption and experience the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that all creation groans in unison with birthing pains up until now. And there is more; it’s not just creation—all of us are groaning together too. Though we have already tasted the firstfruits of the Spirit, we are longing for the total redemption of our bodies that comes when our adoption as children of God is complete— for we have been saved in this hope and for this future. But hope does not involve what we already have or see. For who goes around hoping for what he already has? But if we wait expectantly for things we have never seen, then we hope with true perseverance and eager anticipation.