Sunday, June 4, 2017

One always has to be careful of what prays for.

Oh, Terror Frenzy
In London again, Sigh, Please
Fill my coffee mug.

The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, and so in Him I put my hope. Lamentations 3:22–24

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for guiding us, your children, here on earth. We thank you that whatever happens to us, we can again and again find joy because you give us what is good even when times are evil and when we go through sorrow. We thank you that your goodness and your faithfulness penetrate everything, and that at last, at long last, they penetrate our hearts. Then we can know and be glad that your Spirit guides us. We can know we are never alone but can receive strength to help us in the struggle and toil of our life. Through your help everything becomes fruitful – good and evil, life and death, health and suffering. Everything must serve you through the working of your Spirit. Amen.

God, give us discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that instead we may live deep within our hearts. Grant us anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace. Bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.

Pamela Voelkel is a hero of mine. Because while a heck of a lot of us complain and shake the newspaper headlines and roll our eyes in horrified embarrassment, she is on the phone, she is writing the letters, she is marching in the streets.  She is refusing to believe that nothing can be done, that the power lies so strongly locked in the dimly lit backrooms that we can only murmur over the latest meme, sigh, and then slide our sights down the happy hour list to the amber beers.

Anger is a good thing, rightly directed. Today as I pick up my cross and follow Him, may I remember that I follow Him who overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons in the Temple, He who looked around at the smug Pharisees with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and who restored health and wholeness on the Sabbath, and He who warned because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

And I am deeply grieved over the terror and destruction and death of six innocent people in London last night. But I also grieve that the car bombs that smacked Damascus, Kabul, Baghdad, and Bukavu and killed equally innocent bystanders this week were relegated to the back page of the Arizona Star, right next to the crossword puzzle and just above the ad for the warehouse clearance at Apollo flooring.

And so dear Lord, I confess that I often settle for easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships. Often. And as I drop my nets this year, and follow You, may I learn to live deep within my heart. Grant me the gift of anger.

Your hand will find out all Your enemies;
    your right hand will find out those who hate You.
You will make them as a blazing oven
    when You appear.
The Lord will swallow them up in His wrath,
    and fire will consume them.
Though they plan evil against You,
    though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.
For You will put them to flight;
    You will aim at their faces with Your bows.
Be exalted, O Lord, in Your strength!
    We will sing and praise Your power.  Psalm 21: 8-13