Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How Long, O Lord?

I am not sure what to write on a night when our legal system has declared that a teenager's death doesn't warrant a trial.

I am not sure what to write on a night when my Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with friends who fear for their own safety, and their children's safety, every time they leave the house.

I am not sure what to write on a night when snow is falling and people are gathered to pray and to rage and to exercise their first amendment rights, only to be met by riot gear and water canons and tear gas.

I am not sure what to write on a night when good hardworking professional people see their work, identity, and calling being denigrated by those who use their power to hurt rather than protect, and by those who lump all people in uniform together without seeing the irony there.

I am not sure what to write on a night when I came home to this news, straight from a church book group where we talked about a character who says "we can't choose our hearts...we can't choose what we want and don't want...we can't escape who we are" and how that sounds and awful lot like Paul in Romans 7 saying "I can't do the good that I want to do; instead I do the evil that I don't want to do." But at least both Theo and Paul recognize that what they do is not good, and that they are captive to something greater than they are. (I especially don't want to write about this tonight because an argument about the theological concept of Free Will is beyond my emotional capabilities today.)

When I don't know what to say, I usually turn to quoting something else. In my mind today is the scripture for this Sunday, since I've had to get everything ready today (as opposed to some weeks when I don't finish until Thursday morning...or, you know, Saturday night). It sums up my wordlessness pretty well.

Not to mention that, honestly, occasionally there is a time to keep silence. In mourning, in vigil, in solidarity with those whose voices will never be heard, as an act of protest against a system that thinks it can mask its shortcomings with long speeches. I am silent as I let the voice of the prophets cry out across the centuries. Then tomorrow I will again take up the echo of their voices, whispering and shouting and praying for the kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven.

Habakkuk 1.1-4
Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you ‘Violence!’
and you will not save?
Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
therefore judgment comes forth perverted.
How long, O Lord?

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