A Call to Reflection

because, per usual, the right words are failing me.

and the media is flooding.

and death is trending.

and a life that brought so much “life” to all who watched his performances on screen is being widely “mourned”- and every one has an opinion– every one has words to say. or more likely,  t y p e d.

black and white. stark. and all fail- because none can fully comprehend what Mr. Williams was dealing with, what his thoughts were, or where he finds himself now. none of us are him. and if any could talk to him, that would mean they’d be dead too, so the point there is mute.

but i just feel the loss of life. a life that shouldn’t be lost, lost.

and here we go- because i have a problem, y’all.

a problem with internet and social media and every other way of communicating news being flooded by one death. One.

One tragic death. one to mourn and feel sad for the unnecessary loss of.

But there’s been be-headings of children. raping and killing of women. hanging of men. and the all of that has not been covered to the extent that one man’s death has been covered in the last TWO days. 

and i? Oh i’m guilty. i’m guilty of grabbing my exhaustion and burrowing deep inside my own meanderings in order to not look at what is actually going on in the rest of this whole world- because the fact is, it is absolutely grotesque. we could watch a movie about it. when it’s people pretending to die. but the actual process- we can’t look at it- perhaps because we feel helpless to do anything about it.

i tell myself i can’t stomach it. i have too many hormones coursing through this mom-of-three body of mine that pictures of children’s heads on spikes in a park would just crumble me right where i sit and i would lose all ability to function. the anger and grief would overwhelm me entirely.

so i remain slightly less involved in what is happening in another country- because i can’t handle it.

what can we possibly to do make the situation any better?

is that why we can all (myself included) so publicly mourn the loss of a great comedian and not the loss of all the other lives lost these last few weeks? Because upon waking and finding a man gone, we can grieve- knowing there wasn’t anything we could have done? or is it that we don’t feel compelled to change anything about our lives because of his death? so we can grieve freely and unburdened?

we will still flood people’s blog posts on his death with hateful comments. or we will criticize someone’s twitter feed. we don’t think we need to temper one single thought we send flying out into the inter-web. we don’t have a care if that would add further burden to another’s depression or struggle. we, humanity as a whole, has fallen into a pattern of not having much of any integrity when “publishing” our thoughts for all to read.

10530740_10154518722090455_6435791578024769791_n

sometimes we don’t even care if we hurt, offend, or dare i say speak actual truth. a lot of the time we press “enter” with no accountability or second thought.

there is death. there is unjust death. there is uncalled for death. too young death. “so much life left to live,” death. murder. suicide.

when all that seems possible for an average person to do is sign petitions.

and pray.

the screaming of our guts-all-out -prayers that rip from the deepest depths of us when we allow ourselves to fully feel the enormity of the injustice and crimes against humanity being perpetrated today.

this week.

last week.

and the longing to do MORE.

yes, i feel that too.

so what if every human being alive today were to come to the realization that every other person is also HUMAN? That we are equals in that, if nothing else… which means that we, the all of us are  I M A G E.  B E A R E R S.  of.  GOD.

and, because of that, we have a responsibility.

to advocate for justice.

“Mishpat, then, is giving people what they are due, whether punishment or protection or care.

Over and over again, mishpat describes taking up the care and cause of widows, orphans, immigrants and the poor—those who have been called “the quartet of the vulnerable.”

The mishpat, or justness, of a society, according to the Bible, is evaluated by how it treats these groups. Any neglect shown to the needs of the members of this quartet is not called merely a lack of mercy or charity but a violation of justice, of mishpat. God loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so should we. That is what it means to “do justice.”

Primary justice, or tzadeqah, is behavior that, if it was prevalent in the world, would render rectifying justice unnecessary, because everyone would be living in right relationship to everyone else.

When these two words, tzadeqah and mishpat, are tied together, as they are over three dozen times, the English expression that best conveys the meaning is “social justice.”

We do justice when we give all human beings their due as creations of God. Doing justice includes not only the righting of wrongs but generosity and social concern, especially toward the poor and vulnerable

we are called to be reflections of Christ. not sit placidly on the sidelines witnessing the media.

and to view each life as equal.

so mourn death.

and advocate for justice.

And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God. – Micah 6:8

Advertisements

entry twenty eight

ice cold glass in frozen mug. and it sits and warms to the room, neglected.

the sky is gray and heavy. as though it knows. knows what there is today.

or more, who there isn’t.

I look after her longing, longing to go too, longing to go back and could I? Go with her and into the wonder?

How have I lost it in the growing older, duller? How to see the world again through those eyes? To live in the wide-eyed wonder of a world that unwraps itself grandiose and larger-than-life, so otherworldly?  (Voskamp, 165)

and here we are, shuffling strong out of the Christmas season, survivors of the torn asunder gift paper and the Everest-piled-foods. and we are looking to spring. and newness.

and Easter.

We move from one tree- fresh and fragrant and nestled deep amongst the gifts- to another, dead, and boarded, and nailed, and bearing single Gift. Gift for all mankind.

and the cradle of Christ points arrowed nail to the cross of grace.

and today, today there just doesn’t seem to be enough strength to say what all there is to say.

So these words – these speak deep.

The world moans loud, but He hears your howl. The world smiles thin, but He touches the depths of your deep grief. The world moves on, but His love moves you. He takes the nails to take your pain and He runs liquid with you.

Take your broken heart, your shattered heart, and give thanks for the heart of God who bleeds with yours and this is how your broken, dis-membered heart is re-membered –when you remember to count the ways He lovesCount, like you’re taking your own pulse, like you’re determined to keep breathing.

Remember the one thousand ways the Scarred God’s loves you, give thanks for Him in the midst of an almost hell, and your dis-membered heart re-members.

And our God is not a God to merely believe, but to experience, not to only believe in, but be held by. A God who not only breaks for you but breaks with you, a God to not only have creeds about, but to have communion with, a God who not only dies for you, but who cries with you, the God who touches you and binds you and blesses you and heals you and re-members you because He let Himself be dismembered and He is the God we not only believe in— but we knowWe know – know beyond a shadow of doubt, death or despair.

He has touched our tears. He has cupped our broken hearts with His scars. He has whispered to the howl, “I know, I know. And I’ve come to begin the making of all things new.” We believe. Because we know. He knows our grief. We know His goodness. And the truth is – we don’t need an explanation from God like we need an experience of God.

And that is exactly what we get.

We get that experience of God when He stretches open His arms on that Cross and cries,

For you. For all your regrets and for all your impossibles, for all that will never be and for all that once was, for all that you can’t make right and for all that you got wrong, for your Judas failures and your Peter denials and your Lazarus griefs, I offer to take the nails, the sharp edge of everything, and offer you myself because I want you, to take you, you in your wild grief, you in your anger and your disappointment and your wounds and your not-yet-there, you, just as you are, not some improved version of you, but you – I came for you, to hold you, to carry you, to save you.”

The thanks, the yes — it could come like sweet relief.

The broken hearts — they could re-member.

The lament — it could be absorbed in love.

so I will rest in experiencing my God today instead of trying to understand all of the questions that the harshnesses and tragedies of this world have pummeled my senses senseless with.

to remember a dear friend, a brother to my brother, and one who could love and laugh and live like none other.

Missing you.

Image

entry twenty two

Just watched this video.

And it brings the topic to my heart that catches in my throat and threatens to drain me of all physical and emotional strength. To watch that and not feel emotion… I don’t think it’s possible. Then to realize that this child’s life was birthed into this world when he was in his second trimester of life- still within his mother’s womb… and how children’s lives are ending so violently… at this same age and earlier.

by choice.

How we the church don’t seem to be doing enough to stand against this?

We are beginning to hear the call of the orphan and that of the poor. The widow. Those fatherless many. The street kids. Maybe it’s an easier call to answer because there is always someone to give money to who will then go forth and love on these who so desperately need it.

Maybe we don’t know where to step in.

So we may occasionally line an abortion center.

And shout out in masses for a few days.

 

Or stand in a prayer line.

But does anything really change in our day to day knowing that human. lives. are. ending. in the thousands. on a daily basis?

It’s where my heart strings knot. Blood pulses fast. Runs right ice cold. And muscles tremble.

As I feel as though I am not enough. The cries to God and the clawing desperate of the throat for this to just right this world upended and end this all. That I so desperately long for a switch to flip to just stop this mass genocide going on in our cities. in our country. on our continent. in our world.

Is the church failing? Why do pregnant women choose this?

Is it because we are “promised” a life that we can have and be whatever we want? The shows and books and magazines and articles that blind the soul as they proclaim a person can succeed– and we live our lives by the world’s definition of success? To have laid out before you everything you have been promised- but a life comes in and messes up the “perfect”, so it becomes a choice?

What if we revolutionized the definition of success? And we took the excess out of its entirety?

What if we let our children realize just how true it actually is that giving is so infinitely better than getting? To hold onto the blessedness that comes with dying of ourselves…

And why does it seem so contrary to cultural beliefs to realize that, when faced at a crossroads of a life you desire to live verses another life desiring to continue to live– how    b  l  e  s  s  e  d    that experience will be?

and how exceedingly full of pure refreshing joy to-serve-of-us truly is – if we could just show that to others – to teach that to our children and the generations being raised up…

If we could emphasize – because we actually believed – that the conception of a child is a wondrously glorious blessing- absolutely regardless of circumstance– That yes, there is more pain and more suffering if a person chooses to have such intimate relationship (to enter into sin) with one they are not in a covenant relationship with – and how a child’s life is never a sin.

If we taught our children to protect their purity of hearts and their love for others- if when a relationship involving premarital intimacy is discovered we would be saddened and upset by. the. action. of. intercourse. infinitely more than we are concerned if they are being “safe” – because what message is that sending to their child-minds? And what is the true take away there?

-I actually have yet to hear of a girl who gets pregnant in a Christian home where the parents don’t emphasize the fact that obviously the daughter wasn’t being “safe” enough because look what happened- which. is. not. the. sin. the baby is not the sin. But is that what is being taught in the church?

Why does the one innocent in this time receive all of the disdain?

If no woman ever felt shame for carrying a life within herself…

If the church – the city – the country – the continent – the world – could rise up as one and stand for our humanity.

Something so precious.

So sacred.

I have so many thoughts on this – and every paragraph can be formed into at least a chapter of a book – and maybe those pages need to be filled.

But can we start to teach our children differently? Can we see sin as sin – and a child’s life (no matter the circumstance of conception) as the exact opposite of that? Is it possible to separate the two when we talk to our children?

It’s time to stop living each day with a refusal to fully acknowledge what is going on in the here and now. You’ve read about genocides in your history books. This is so much bigger. And it’s right down the street. It’s within miles of the Church.

 

And it needs to be over.

It is time for every child to be given the gift of life. And for every mother to feel the blessing of her newborn’s skin nestled safe against her chest. As the child falls asleep to the sound of mommy’s beating heart.

A life is a life no matter how small- and if you believe God is the Creator of all- Who made us to be the salt of the earth- can we not be warriors for each child’s birth? 

 

*disclaimer note- in case it is not clear- I do believe that premarital sex is a sin. Having experienced it first hand I am a huge advocate of choosing to wait until being one with your spouse. But that being said, all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. And if this is an area where you have sinned, are sinning, there is forgiveness at the cross. Just as there is for every sin committed by any person. My argument here is that when a person becomes pregnant as a result of premarital intercourse- the two acts are looked at as sinful, and there doesn’t seem to be a true and honest separation between the act of premarital sex – the sin- from the conception of life – not sin.