We were right to be angry at the great wrongs of 9/11, but at some point, rehearsing that anger year after year doesn’t move us toward justice, love, or the forgiveness Jesus commands of his followers. It moves us toward resentment, hostility, and bitterness, with all the trouble it brings (Heb. 12:15).
We never knew how to mourn. We just knew how to get angry.
We need to learn all over again how to handle the memory.
How we remember is as important as that we remember, as theologian Miroslav Volf has argued, and we should discipline ourselves to remember “both with the desire for knowing truth and with the desire of overcoming enmity and creating a communion in love.”
7 You deceived me, Lord, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. 8 Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long. 9 But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. (Jer. 20:7-9)
This time being isolated is an opportunity. In the major cultural shifts we are experiencing, I have a deep sense in my spirit this is a time to mourn and be ready to move to what is next. I elaborate more HERE.
Grief shows up in many ways. One way it may tend to show up is anger or rage. Since that is not easily recognized as “grief” in our culture, we tend to combat the rage or anger instead of stepping back to ask a few more questions.
Grief over loss isn’t easily processed in our culture because we don’t have the time. Guess what? WE HAVE TIME. What are we doing with it?
The weariness of terrorism and racism in our news last week can exhaust us. There are times when we truly wonder: How long, O Lord?”
The psalm in my reading this morning gives me a reminder on perspective:
“You love evil more than good; you love lying more than speaking what is right. Selah You love all destructive words; you love the deceiving tongue. But God will take you down permanently; he will snatch you up, tear you out of your tent, and uproot you from the land of the living! Selah”
We fail too often to stop and mourn. Orlando hurts today. A community hurts today.
We can fight another day on all the issues…
Lord, let us mourn.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. (Rom. 12:15-16)