The Orlando shooting, the murder of Jo Cox MP, an attempt on Donald Trump’s life all make us wonder why some people choose to commit murder, and how we label it…We want something to blame. Evil has crashed into our lives, and it’s terrifying.
I want to say it loudly: the claim that you will always feel God’s peace during suffering is a myth. No matter how mature a Christian you are, sometimes you suffer and God feels desperately absent. Sometimes there’s an explanation in hindsight. Sometimes there’s a lesson learned from it. But sometimes there’s just silence and mystery.
To the person who feels everlastingly behind, behind, behind—you are not forgotten. You don’t have to catch up. This is just Winter. Spring will come. You’re doing just fine.
For me, this is what liturgy is. It is the guide-rope of centuries of Christian voices who whisper to future generations – this is the way out of the dark. Just hang on and follow it out.
When all you are longing for is daylight and the brightness of the sun, it is hard to remember that there is a light that comes in the darkness, too.
Sometimes the church tells me that I should not be sad, because Jesus is enough. My longings tell me that though Jesus may be enough, I do not always see Jesus clearly, feel him near. Jesus may be enough, but I do not yet have enough Jesus.
Sometimes life is like that. We have joy, but in a minor key. This life mixes up the best and beautiful with the ugly and evil of the world, and sometimes they play at the same time. As I approach Advent, the season of waiting and in-between, I want to be honest about the joy and the sorrow together.
It is a natural response to want to creep back into the safety of our tribes, to draw lines about what makes us ‘us’, and them ‘them’, but it is not the way of love. Love crosses boundaries and borders; it dares to stare people in the eye and love them for their personhood, their humanity.
God is love, through and through – daring, defiant, powerful love. God calls us to love others in the way that God alone loves: seeing them truly, loving them entirely.