Lenten Reflection for Sat 3/23/2013

Angel of Grief

Angel of Grief

Psalm am: 137, 144
pm: 42, 43 Jeremiah 31:27-34
Romans 11:25-36 John 11:28-44 or
12:37-50

My tears have been my food day and night,
While they say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ . . .
I will say to God my rock, ‘Why have You forgotten me? —-Psalm 42:3, 9
You give us as sheep to be eaten
And have scattered us among the nations.
You sell Your people cheaply,
And have not profited by their sale.  —-Psalm 44:11-12

Today’s psalms recount the experience of Israel’s exile in Babylon—a nation of
people ripped from homes that no longer exist, families torn apart and relocated as
refugees, strangers in a strange land. Calls for continued hope in the midst of tragedy
mingle with cries of bitterness culminating in the famous wish of 137:9—that
someone would bash in the Babylonian babies’ skulls against a rock in retribution.
Above all the pain of military defeat and forced resettlement though lingers the
questions, “Why God?”; “Where were you, God?”; “How could you, God?
While only some of us know the pain of war and estrangement from our homelands,
I would wager that at one point or another most of us have felt abandoned
by God and questioned God’s role and presence in the midst of some overwhelming
pain. Shattered dreams . . . broken promises . . . abandonment . . . betrayal . . .
disease . . . death. In a broken world, these are experiences with which we are all
too familiar, and so we wonder, how can such things occur in a world created and
sustained by a loving God? When belief in the goodness and ever presence of
God collide with the darkness of this world’s reality, sometimes all we are left
with is a cry of lament. I don’t know about you, but I’m thankful for Scriptures that
not only condone but also teach us how to express such cries. I’m thankful not to
be alone in such experiences, and I thankful for a Bible that doesn’t teach me to
put a happy face on the horrors of life, to pretend like they don’t exist when they
really do.
Meg Ramey
Traveler, Teacher, and Questioner

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