“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” (Matthew 23:37-38)
My heart is wrecked with grief this morning. I’ve stared at a blank page, and simply do not know the words to write. To write anything seems too small and insignificant. These issues are not the domain of social media, or even two-minute soundbites on the television. No, what we see is the exposing of our society’s rebellion against the eternal law of God.
Unjust killings and lawless rioting find their roots in a restless and perverse generation. We can be smug and say that we need to return to a gentler time, but that time does not exist. Maybe we were able to live in a bubble of isolation from the tyranny of the world and the devil, but even there the tyranny of the flesh clawed at our very souls.
My first memories as a human being revolve around the time I was preparing to go to first grade. As a five-year-old boy, I was beginning to be aware of a world far larger than my family or small town in which I lived. For me, those images are hauntingly familiar. You see, that was the summer and fall of 1968. The television screen was filled with images of fighting, rioting, looting, and assassinations. On my first day of school, my brother shipped out to Vietnam.
WHAT DO I DO? I have asked myself that question a thousand times. Then this hymn by Henry Lyte reminded me what I can do.
Did Christ over sinners weep,
And shall our cheeks be dry?
Let floods of penitential grief,
Burst forth from every eye.
Behold the Son of God in tears,
The angels wondering see
Hast thou no wonder, O my soul?
He shed those tears for thee!
He wept that we might weep,
Might weep over sin and shame
He wept to show His love for us,
And bid us love the same.
I can weep. Weep over my own sinfulness. Weep over a broken and fallen world. Weep until my heart becomes tender in love for God and my neighbor. And here I can find hope.
We will not solve all of the problems in our world today. We cannot. But that does not mean that I can be indifferent about injustice and prejudice. No, as John writes in his first letter: “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” The church has the only balm for the darkness that pervades our world – the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. A gospel that is more than just words, but is lived out in the fruit of a redeemed life.
So I begin where I am. I can sow the seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, because the Spirit of the eternal God dwells in me. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph. 4:31-32)
So let us weep and pray. Weep over our own brokenness and the brokenness of our world. And let us pray that God would continue that good work he has begun in us, that we might be salt and light in a lost and dying world.
Blessings to you all,