Trusting in a God Who Saves
Blessed are the [bent over] in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are [those filled with gentle strength of Divine origin],
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.–Matthew 5:3-6
Broken. Broken windows and broken cars. Broken systems and broken practices for peace. Broken trust and broken promises of blessing and protection. Brokenness all around us. Where will our help come from?
There will be no meaningful solution to our tragic divisions without awareness of the deep brokenness which pervades our society and predates these myriad crises we are in today. Yes, there will be grace, for every breath is grace. And some of us cannot breathe. Some of us. The question is, how deep is the “us”? When some of us cannot breathe, do the rest of us gasp for breath? Do we cry out in mourning? Are we broken by the brokenness that surrounds us? Or is that brokenness someone else’s suffering, not part of us?
If you are troubled by the violence you are witnessing, it means that violence has touched something you love. Perhaps it is your sense of basic goodness in the world, perhaps it is your trust in strangers and crowds, perhaps it is your neighborhood that is being threatened. When we are troubled by the events of the world, it is because they are tied to our lives. When 108,000 people die due to a novel disease, it is a tragic loss for our entire nation, whether you knew anyone personally or not. Yet even the pain of this loss at times seems distant and hard to feel when things in our circles are healthy. How much more is this true when yet another person of color is murdered on video, one of a dozen videos I have seen in the past few years... and the killer again receives no immediate consequences. There must be a vast chasm between the suffering of George Floyd and the levers of power in America.
Suffering is never separate from God. All the injustice and suffering of the world is held tenderly by our God, says Psalm 146. All those overwhelmed by the enormity of brokenness are being led and cared for by our God, says Psalm 121. All are known deeply by our God, perhaps more deeply than we’d like, says Psalm 139. Our God is the One who makes any authentic experience of “us” possible, because we are all God’s beloved children. Our God suffers with the broken and laments the brokenness in the systems we create. And our God asks us, “are we all in this together?”
If you are wondering where to start, I invite you to ask yourself, where does my sense of “us” end? Who’s life and wellbeing is tied to mine, and who’s isn’t? Where has the Devil (whatever that is) placed distances between my heart and the suffering of the world? It is only through honest self-reflection on why we are not connected to one another’s pain that we will find the motivation to bridge the gaps between us. The God who saves is the God who makes a “me” into an “us”, who unites my brokenness with the brokenness of the world, so that as the world is healed I am healed. And as I am healed, so is the world.
In Solidarity and With Love, Pastor Andrew