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Tears

June 5, 2020

“My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, ‘Where is your God?'” Psalm 42:3

Today’s Old Testament passage from the Daily Texts speaks strongly to me this morning. During these past two weeks I have seen and heard many tears. There was weeping at George Floyd’s service yesterday, holy tears offered in the face of injustice. I have listened to Black friends weep over the phone, seen their grief on social media. I have wiped away my children’s tears as I’ve talked with them about this killing, and about the long history of violence enacted against people because of their skin color. (“But why, Dad? That doesn’t make any sense.” Indeed.) I have wept in the night for our nation.

The tears we can see. But where is God in all of this? Today’s verse speaks strongly to me.

Psalm 42 is a psalm of lament, beginning with the image of a deer longing for flowing streams. When will our thirst be slaked? Where is God? The psalm ends, however, with hope, spoken to calm the psalmist’s own heart: Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope is God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.

It is good to weep. How can we not? But we dare not give up hope, and we cannot let our tears be our only response. I struggle to finds words during these days, but I feel compelled to keep writing, speaking. And tomorrow, I’ll join my friends in North Lawndale to help clean up (meet tomorrow at Homan and Roosevelt, 11:00 a.m.). As Pastor James Brooks says, we are one body with many members. Let us weep together, and let us work together. What can’t God do through us, the Body of Christ in the world?

Be well, friends. You are loved.

O God, my soul thirsts for you. This land is barren, broken. Yet streams of living waters flow from you, restoring hope and empowering service. Let justice roll down like a mighty stream as we weep and as we work, that your Kingdom might more clearly come. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Detail from a mosaic in the Basilica di San Clemente, Rome (license).

From → COVID-19

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