Palm/ Passion Sunday
25 March 2018
Life is hard. Recently I was reminded to count myself lucky that this hand injury was not something life threatening like cancer. The man went on to share the story of his brother’s recent discovery of metastasized bone cancer. In nearly whispered tones he asked, what kind of God does that? My only answer was, “not a God I can believe in.”
Day after day I hear the anguish of humanity around me. Anguish over missing having a home to live in, money to pay the basic bills like medicine and food, let alone water and lights. Anguish over divorce, losing a very alive child to the life of addiction, or worse, losing them to death from addiction. Anguish over good people who live last days dragged out in pain and finally die agonizing deaths from cancer, MS, heart disease, diabetes. I hear and see women crying out for safety, to be seen as valued, as more than objects of desire. Yesterday, I heard children crying out to be safe at school and parents angry over having to choose education or life for their children. And even this morning my heart cried out in anguish over missing my mother in law, even 2 years after her death. But I am aware I manage to go on. And some folks don’t. Their anguish over losing a loved one is simply inconsolable.
What kind of God does that? What kind of God takes children, mothers, helpers, healers? What kind of God decides to give someone a dreaded disease or make them suffer addiction? My answer has not changed. Not the kind of God I can believe in. Not my God.
Not the God who we will read about today.
Not the God who missed us so much that the Son was sent to be with us. To feel the coolness of air against his sweaty skin, to feel the kiss of his mothers tender lips against his cheek, to feel the sting of the whip, to feel the crush of the cross as it drowned him in his own flesh.
Not the God who ate with the dredges of society because he saw them as absolutely precious. Not the God who taught us it wasn’t about exact translations of the law but about the intent, the greater purpose.
Not the God who begged not to be left alone to pray, or who made sure his mother was in the hands of another to care for her as he hung dying. Not the God who cried out. That God, our God, who did all these things loves us too much to make us suffer.
I believe in The God. The one who knew our anguish personally so that he could bring us back into right relationship. The one who would give up heaven and then earth to show us how much we are loved. The one who came for us, left the Spirit to remain with us and promises we are never alone.
I believe in that God. Because that God, my God, the God of Salvation through the death of the Son and the presence of the Holy Spirit, Our God, the one I can put my trust in, Cried out in anguish too. God knows our anguish. Felt it at the moment of sinful separation and for eons since. And God felt our pain and sorrow, our anger and fear, our humiliation and our frustration. God felt our anguish and cried out. That is not the kind of God who punishes us and takes babies to make angels of them. Our God is with us. Loves us. Desires us. Knows us. Remains with us.
Listen then, to the passion of our Lord, according to Mark the fourteenth and fifteenth chapters.