Sunday. Again. Another story of a mass murder.
Just last week I prayed with the Manhattan truck attack. The people who died. The people left behind. Everyone who was hurt. Everyone. All of us. In one great lament.
Inside my heart I asked God Why?
And I seemed to hear God’s own immense wail of sorrow. Lamentation. Pain at seeing death snatching his children again. God’s tears gave me permission to shed my own. To unite my lamentation to his. To blend my agony with the divine agonizing cry of love that rises from the heart of Jesus. To melt my Why? into mystery. They are the fierce tears stronger than those of a mother who would throw herself in the way of danger to save her child. As Jesus has done for us.
Taking the long view of the violent situations that tear apart cities and hearts has brought me closer to the divine way of seeing things. Jesus died almost 2000 years ago, an anguished cry of love and mercy that was stronger than the evil that overshadows humanity with its power from creation to Christ’s second coming. A cry of agony for the sinners and the sinned against. Even as he died, the darkness couldn’t snuff out the light and the apostles fled in fear.
Jesus three-day-after Resurrection blares out one message: God has a plan, and that plan will be victorious over sin, evil, and death. That plan is bigger than the terrible acts of mass murder that shatter frightened hearts. That plan is greater than my sin and weakness. That plan is larger than politics, agendas, and organizations. That plan is stronger than ecclesial failures and brokenness.
And that plan, there is no derailing that plan.
Last night I listened to the statement of the Pastor’s wife at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. I was both moved and humbled. It is clear that in the midst of this evil, they as a community–as a common Body–remember that, even with a church building beyond repair and many of their congregation now gone, they are still church. All still one. Re-gathering, consoling and in reality re-membering one another. Evil carried but not absorbed.
Let love go before us, then, to tend to the broken hearts. Let wisdom light the way, calling down the Holy Spirit on all of us that we might see the plan, God’s plan, and find our way together once more.