Some of y’all know that I lead a weekly, online spiritual practice as the Minister of Digital Community with Extravagance UCC. A couple of you even know that I’ve been leading online worship in one form or another for about 8 years now.
Often, as we settle in for our time of worship, I will lift up the same prayer.
Gracious and loving God,
oil the hinges
of our hearts’ doors
that they may swing gently
to welcome you.
Apparently God was a little heavy handed with the damn oil – thanks Dude. I don’t know about you but my heart has come totally unhinged feeling all the feels in the last week or so. How can we stand another damn death – murder, suicide, job, relationship, dream…
I have no platitudes friends. I have no magic candle to banish the dark. There are none and anyone who would tell you differently is lying through their crooked-ass, pseudo-Christian teeth.
There is nothing in the bible, do you hear me, NOTHING that promises if we just have enough faith, if we are righteous enough, that we will not suffer. In fact, for those of use who bother to actually read the Text, we know that the dark valley of suffering is part of our shared narrative.
Job suffered even though God acknowledges him to be a righteous and faithful man. And those “friends” around him who tried to explain away his suffering as evidence of his lack of faith were rebuked – by God.
In Psalm 13 the psalmist cries out in agony -
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain[a] in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God! Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death…
And in our beloved 23rd Psalm, we are not promised NO dark valley, we are given hope that God will be our holy companion IN the dark valley.
I am still working on claiming all this y’all. Every. Damn. Day. I’ve not been able to squeeze out a drop of coherent writing in nearly two weeks because the tsunami of horrific news just keeps pounding the shore of my soul.
But today, I saw a pin-prick of light break the clouds. I am not sure why but I do know it is NOT because I had more faith today than yesterday. It is NOT because I tried any harder than anyone else or even harder than I did yesterday. Today is just today.
Maybe it is the insane hope that we together can stand up and take back this world going mad. Or maybe it was the funky sandwich I had for lunch.
Maybe, quite likely – right now, right here – it is you.
We are all in this together – interdependent.
I invite you to lift up prayer requests or prayers so that we can be praying for you – with you.