There isn’t a time with only joy. There isn’t a time with only sorrow. And I’m grateful. This weekend has been full of sorrow, or should be, in our nation. But there is joy in the mix as well.
First the good. Our church had been praying for the return of a young man who had disappeared from his home about two weeks ago. It was feared he had been lured away. With joy the father sent out a message on Facebook yesterday saying the son had been found and they were on their way home. What joy!
Let us rejoice with those who rejoice! Let us give thanks that one that was lost has now been found!
But Saturday afternoon, there was the tragic mass shooting in El Paso, TX. At least 20 dead. It now “ranks” as one of the top 10 deadliest shootings in U.S. history.
Absorbing that was hard enough. Then, I wake up with more news out of Dayton, OH. Another mass shooting overnight. At least 9 dead.
Our national weakness is our inability to mourn together. We’re ready to launch into our anger and our accusation. (And believe me, I am ready to launch. I am fed up and angry.)
But we won’t mourn together. We won’t stop and weep together and just cry out in sorrow for the lives lost and the tragedy that grips our nation.
On this day… a SUNDAY of all days… couldn’t we truly call a Sabbath rest? Couldn’t we find a way to call for a ceasefire in our accusations and just sit together and cry? On a SUNDAY of all days, couldn’t churches lead with LAMENT in their services? Couldn’t we just pray with sorrow instead of praying with our agendas?
This is our national weakness. We do not have national lament.
And it is literally killing us.
Almighty God, you created us in your own image: Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and help us to use our freedom rightly in the establishment of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy name: through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.