Sunday, March 09, 2008

More Than Watchmen Wait for Morning

Today’s church service was filled with more lament than a usual fifth Sunday in lent. This week the state of Georgia was touched by the murder of two college women, one at UNC, and one at Auburn. The father of one of these women is a member of my church. While I have never met Eve Carson, others in our congregation knew her, and were especially yearning for the resurrection of the dead today. It is amazing the ways that God prepares for our needs before we even know them. The lectionary readings were all about God bringing life when there isn’t any hope – Ezekiel and the dry bones, the resurrection of Lazarus, a Romans passage that ends “he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.”

I have my public speaking students report on the news in every class. I forgot to do it in my later class this Friday, so we put it at the end of class instead, and as my student listed these killings among death and war elsewhere in the world, we all felt stunned and saddened, even though our eagerness for spring break made the class open with a sense of excitement. We generally have time for discussion after the news report, and a student remarked that she feels guilty for the way she reacts to these tragedies briefly, and then returns almost immediately to her life – homework, friends, etc. We talked about that difficulty – we all want to be compassionate, sincere people, but if you truly felt every tragedy in the news, you would be paralyzed with sadness. I wish that I could have told them about the gifts of the Christian tradition – that it gives us a way to respond. We lament and hope. We cry out from the depths, like the Psalm 130 writer, but we also say, with him, “My soul waits for the Lord, in his word I hope. My soul waits more than watchmen wait for the morning.” This pattern of tears, prayers and hope are built into the life of the church. Lent is when we wait and pray. But sadness is always around us, demanding that we remember to wait for the Lord.

3 comments:

the chickens' auntie said...

This post really touched me. As the mother of 3 students, I feel like I grieve with every mother of every murdered college student and yet feel relief that it isn't my child or my grief. There is no pain like that felt by the families of dead children. A young man from our congregation was killed in Iraq last year and, though I never knew him, I continue to feel the grief shared with his mom and dad, a couple from our Sunday School class.

If I stop to think about all the pain and suffering we experience I do, as you said, become paralyzed by sadness. Your post expressed very well that pain (and the hope that accompanies it for believers).

shellbell said...

beautiful...

Julie said...

I don't know how to respond other than repeat what the other commenters said: this post touched my and it was beautiful. I feel so blessed that I know the comfort, peace, and even joy a person gets from knowing God during the good times, but especially during the difficult times!