The darkness of Advent and communal lament

“Unlike American Christianity, the Bible is not individualistic, but thoroughly social in its orientation. When the Church groans with Isaiah, ‘Thou hast hid they face far from us,’ it speaks as a corporate body with a common lot. If one suffers, all suffer.” — Fleming Rutledge, Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Christ 

2017.05.28 – Thoughts on Suffering featuring Pastor Rachel Ling

“2017.05.28 – Thoughts on Suffering featuring Pastor Rachel Ling”

A sermon from Heights Church. More information at

 Subscribe in an RSS reader or on iTunes

The lesson of suffering

When I was in Ethiopia teaching Wisdom Literature, we spent a lot of time in Job.

I asked the class one day, “What have you learned from Job, or learned from suffering?”

One student answered: “Suffering is an opportunity to upgrade my faith.”

I learn far more teaching in Ethiopia than I can give out.


Learning to weep with those weep

I  will never have the whole Middle East thing figured out. (That will disappoint many conservative friends… and that’s just the way it is.)

My heart breaks with the news I hear, the posts I read from missionaries, the posts I read from the churches in those areas. Rather than identify with those suffering, we are far too quick to pick sides and thump our political or theological chests to declare who is REALLY right.

I came across a poem today from one who has worked in Gaza and it is becoming my prayer. The post is worth reading as well.

Cry with us
This is a season of weeping and mourning, but it is not void of hope.
Our tears are the bridge between brutality and humanity;
our tears are the salty gates for seeing a different reality;
our tears are facing soulless nations and a parched mentality;
our tears are the dam preventing rivers of animosity.
For the sake of the mourning men, cry with us to reflect your amity.
For the sake of the poor children, cry with us demanding sanity.
For the sake of lamenting mothers, refuse violence and stupidity.
Love your enemies and cry with them is the advice of divinity.
Bless those who curse is the path to genuine spirituality.
Pour tears of mercy; compassion is true piety.
Pray with tears, for the sake of spreading equity.
Followers of Jesus: crying is now our responsibility.
But don’t cry for your friends only;
but also for your Enemy. — Yohanna Katanacho