My heart is grieving. Given the events that have captured the headlines in the news, my heart is grieving.
I am grieving for those homes that will forever have an empty place at the table.
I am grieving for parents who don’t know what to teach their sons and for officers who leave their homes wondering if they will return home when their shift is over.
I am grieving for the children who will grow up without a mommy or daddy, for spouses who receive death benefits that in no way compensate for the loss that they must endure, for men to think that their manhood is proven by the number of the progeny instead of the amount of time they invest in their children, for the abused who become abusers and for those who need to strength to end whatever destructive cycle they were raised in.
I grieve for the neighborhoods in Chicago that in one weekend alone experience more shootings and death than New York City and Los Angeles combined, for those who worry when their loved one goes out the door, for those who do not feel safe behind their doors, for mothers who tuck their children in at night in bathtubs because they fear the stray bullet from outside their home, for politicians and citizens who appeal to not to our better angels but to our darkest fears and desires.
I grieve for those who are so insecure that they propagate hate and I grieve for those who are victims of hate.
I grieve for those who are skilled at the destructive half-truth and innuendo as well as for those who succumb to these variations of falsehood.
I grieve for the fact that we often look for the worst in people rather than look for their better virtues.
I grieve for the fact that we do not seem to take the words of Jesus seriously—we too often do not seek to be Peacemakers—the very children of God.
I grieve for the refugees who are welcomed nowhere, for the unemployed and underemployed.
I grieve for those who have too much and are never satisfied as well as for those who don’t have enough and are in hunger.
I grieve that there are too few who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
But grief can never have the last word. Tears may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning, the Old Testament book of Lamentations tells us. Grief alone leaves us powerless. But we are not powerless. We have God and God always has the last word. As Christians, called to be ambassadors of God’s Kingdom, the Light to the dark world, the Church—you and I—are called to be engaged and involved. Like Jesus we need to touch the broken places, not just with a bandaid but to get to the root causes and address them in ways both great and small. There are no small acts when done for the glory of God. Remember the parable of the mustard seed; the Kingdom of God starts small, with one person, one group, one congregation, and takes on a life of its own.
I remember attending a worship service in Addis Abba, Ethiopia in which the minister apologized that he and the elders would not be able to greet the worshipers and guests after the service—as was their custom. Instead, they needed to spend the rest of the day in prayer and fasting in order to hear God more clearly. Prayer and fasting is an ancient custom found in all faiths and recommended by our Lord Jesus Christ and affirmed in the writings of the apostle Paul. It is the first step that I am going to take to defeat my sense of helpless grief. I have decided to follow the ancient tradition and set aside time for prayer and fasting from sun up to sun down, as I go about my work. I invite you to join me wherever you may be.
We are not battling flesh and blood enemies—though some would have us believe that we are. No, we are battling evil forces in a dark unseen world that slither among us. The face of Evil is dark and daunting and there are no easy solutions or quick fixes. But, we shall overcome for ultimately, Thy will, will be done, on earth as well as in heaven. Frosty