“Shake your fist at God all you want; complain about the injustice; tell anyone who is willing to listen how you don’t have faith in your faith any more; scream at the darkness; knock yourself out. As for me, I’ll be doing what I can for the cause of light.”
Advent music rehearsal at fpcBrandon
Saturday Morning was time for the “Christmas Music Special” rehearsal with our wonderful chancel choir at “First Presbyterian Church of Brandon.” It is my privilege to share narration duties with Kelly Black, whose husband, Tim, serves on on the pastoral staff here with Rebekah.
Additionally (and this became much more difficult in light of Friday’s tragic child murders in Newtown, Connecticut), I’m singing “Joseph’s Lullaby” (from The Christmas Sessions by Mercy Me).
But I have to say, after the pain and anguish of Friday’s news, spending Saturday morning in church, singing achingly beautiful Christmas carols with good people, was just about the best intervention possible.
Don’t misunderstand me, listening to Lloyd Larson’s arrangement of Breath of Heaven doesn’t answer any of the hard questions, it doesn’t placate our anger, nor does it eradicate the deep angst that gnaws at our souls, but – and this is important to remember – it doesn’t intend to. What these disciplines of worship and prayer do achieve is the opportunity to rest in the presence of God. And sometimes that is all we can hope for.
HARD QUESTIONS: Listen, I know I’d be beating my head against a wall if I tried to translate my understanding of peace, and promise, and mercy, and grace into a series of pithy arguments I could post on facebook and use to put the hard questions to rest. I’ve got hard questions myself; we all do; slick answers are a waste of time.
But my God is still the God of hope; and that hope is still articulated most eloquently in the promise of the Christ-child and the imperative of love. And while I can’t offer my faith as any kind of a “now I understand” explanation, or an excuse for “unfairness,” or a tidy answer, I can offer it as proof positive that the very real presence of God both sustains and encourages me – especially in the face of such consummate evil.
But my God is still the God of hope; and that hope is still articulated most eloquently in the promise of the Christ-child and the imperative of love.
light and life…
LIGHT: Rather than proof that God either does not exist or – worse – does not care enough to do anything to help, events of such monumental darkness point to the desperate lostness and overwhelming need that characterize the lives of so many people.
God’s healing light shines in the darkness to the extent that we (that’s you, and me) are willing to live as children of the light.
So you say you want to see the evidence of God, in action, in this broken world? Well, invite God to live in and through you. Follow Jesus as a humble servant. Love recklessly, with Christ’s kind of love.
So you want to shake your fist at God and accuse God of abandoning this world? Well, become a follower of Jesus and learn to live beyond the limits of your own sin. Then you’ll be on conversational terms with God and you can tell your Creator anything you like!
PRAISE: This morning, the third Sunday of Advent, I’ll be in church and I’ll be singing praises to God. I hope everyone who reads this will consider joining us.
I don’t know about you, but God is using me – every day – to make a positive difference in this world and to push back the darkness. That’s my answer to the tragedy, the murder, the pain, and the horror of Newtown, Connecticut.
Shake your fist at God all you want; complain about the injustice; tell anyone who is willing to listen how you don’t have faith in your faith any more; scream at the darkness; knock yourself out. As for me, I’ll be doing what I can for the cause of light.