Lament

Holy One
Higher Power
Whoever or Whatever You are
There are times where I wonder
Are you there?
Do you even care?

In my most raw moments
I find myself turning from You
Turning in
Tuning out
Shutting down.

Rage that boils
Spills pain and grief
Like blood on the streets–
Streets in our city
Streets in our nation
Streets in our world.

How long, O Lord, how long?

My childhood belief yearns for a Super Hero Savior,
One in a cape
One that doesn’t just hear people’s cries
But swoops in to stop the pain.

In the silence I hear You whisper:
Be still.
Be still and know.

I don’t want to be still.
I want saving for…
I want rescuing from…
I want…

Perhaps that is the gift.
The gift of
I want
The gift of
We want
The gift of desperation
The gift of anger.

Come now, Holy One
Break the shackles of fear and shame.
Open us to the refiner’s fire in which we find ourselves.
Equip us to harness our anger
That we might risk responding rather than retreating or reacting.
Give us the courage not only to speak for peace–
But to practice peace:
Peace in our hearts
Peace in our homes
Peace in our communities.
This peace that comes from You
A peace that is not cheap or easy
A peace that does not remove the chaos and conflict
A peace that points the direction of a world waiting to be born.
Help us midwife that world.
Amen.

What does THIS say about US?

I opened the local paper yesterday, and the first headline:  Armored Backpacks and Rush on a Guns After Conn.  The title alone sent shivers down my spine.  Shivers followed by an inner voice asking, “What does THIS say about US?  Is THIS what we want to teach our children?” We stand up on Sundays and profess faith in a God and the promises that death is not the end, and on Monday, we stock pile weapons to keep us safe.  If actions speak louder than words to children, I believe what we are teaching is that fear is stronger than faith.  Fear is stronger than love.  Fear is stronger than God.

I’ve heard it said that fears can really be false expectations appearing real.  False expectations that lead to fight or flight reactions.  False expectations that only fuel the fire of violence.  False expectations that crowd out space for compassion, love, and creative problem solving.  Armored backpacks and teachers packing heat address the symptom of a problem we might not even be able to fully identify or describe.

I don’t think anyone would argue that the number of mass shootings in 2012 alone necessitate change.  The question isn’t whether to change or even who is to blame.  It’s how do we, ourselves, begin changes in our systems,from government to mental health, that might truly begin to address the root causes of these issues.  How do we teach our children to live in the midst of a complex world?  How do we practice the faith we say we believe?