Scripture Reading: Psalm 124
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side
—let Israel now say—
if it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
when our enemies attacked us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone
the raging waters.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth. –Psalm 124:1-5, 8
Rabbi Harold Kushner explores well the issue of faith in the midst of tragedy in his book When Bad Things Happen to Good People. We are called to pray for all kinds of disasters and illness, and we do. As much as we try to grapple with God’s presence in the face of tragedy, it remains a mystery cloaked in our very human reactions.
I believe that God is love and is present with us in all of life’s challenges. I also believe that God does not favor any of God’s children over any of God’s other children. I do not remember who said it, but someone was reported to say something to the effect that God was the first one to cry following the Oklahoma City bombing. I believe that to be true.
Matthew quotes Jesus as saying
‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:43-45)
The last phrase of this scripture is the most familiar. I think it important that we read the full saying. The Lord is always present and is always on the side of love no matter what. Our faith in that plays out in our worldview and our response to others. As part of the Body of Christ we are called to be instrumental in refocusing our world toward the rule of love.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your patient love. Let it flow through each of us to all of us. Amen.