Not Just News
This past Sunday morning, I put on a skirt and I made chocolate chip pancakes and I drove to church, late. It was business as usual. But it really wasn’t. Early that morning, I had awoken to an alert on my phone: ‘Two churches were bombed in Egypt.’ So standing in a pew on Palm Sunday, I found myself weeping for Egypt. It was more than sad news. I knew deep within me, on the other side of the globe, there was a mother who had lost her child; maybe it was a young child, maybe a not-so-young child. But in a sanctuary, in a sacred place, in what was supposed to be a safe space, her child died. Somewhere over the years, the LORD has pressed into me that the people on the news are more than statistics. They are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. The LORD whispers to me, This is not just news. This is personal. So I grieved for an Egyptian mother.
I went home and took out my contacts, because my eyes were weary from crying. I went to bed. And then, I woke again and went to work, running late, but this time traffic was kind. After work, sitting in the parking lot of my kids’ school waiting for pickup, I read on an app that in San Bernardino there had been a school shooting. I wept again. In what should have been a safe space, another child had died. Another mother lost her baby; I grieved for her. This is not just news. This is personal.
Squeezed in between Sunday morning and Monday afternoon in the quiet of night, my dear friend’s father-in-law passed away. His story doesn’t make the news but sometimes Alzheimer’s disease does. I sat prayerfully again looking for the right scripture to share with her to bring her comfort, knowing she had lost a man she had called Dad for over 30 years, a man filled with determination, wit, and a servant’s spirit. This is not just news. This is personal.
I know that I have a part to play in being the answer to Jesus’ prayer, ‘Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth, as it is in heaven.’ I know there’s so much Good Samaritan work we are called to right now but sometimes I just long for when things will be set right, when there will be no more tears, and no more sorrow. I am grateful, hopeful, and even desperate for the resurrection this Easter season.
On Friday, I’ll read Matthew 27 during our Good Friday service. ‘Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.’
This is not just news. This is personal.
The LORD has whispered this phrase again and again, but never before with the Word of God.
Jesus. The One who gathered Mary at his feet. The One who healed Jairus’ daughter. The One who calmed the storm. There is so much to love about Jesus. He forgave Peter. He taught about Good Samaritan love. He washed feet clean. And then…
Jesus. The One who gathered, healed, calmed, forgave, taught love and washed clean…. Me. He did all that for me and with me. Me… at his feet. Me… healed. Me calmed and forgiven and taught love and washed clean. That Jesus. He died.
And this is not just news. This is personal.
So on Good Friday, I will grieve. And I will weep. And I will pray. I won’t rush on by detached from this moment.
But then I’ll turn towards Easter and the resurrection, both Jesus’ and ours. It is the beginning and end of all hope. We can long for the sweetness of heaven, in the life after this one, where we live in the fullness of God’s love. I hope that for Egypt, and for San Bernardino, and for Dad… and for all of us.
He has risen!
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Tagged: easter, good Friday, matthew 27, news