Donald R. Elly. M. Div.
My title comes from a prayer sent to my wife, Anne, by a good friend in response to the murder of eleven Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh , PA. It captured the mood of fear, darkness and anger so many of us experience on a daily basis living in the chaos, and violence occurring all the time, yet unexpectedly.
For me the prayer conveyed hope forcing me to think about my own response to evil. Jesus in Jerusalem, a city filled with tension, conflict and violence gives his disciples then, and now, some ways to respond and cope. First though we see Jesus as the sign of God’s Kingdom breaking in, one result is conflict, violence and death, yet in it Jesus asserts God is at work. God is with us. “In my name“ healing is happening. Those who are last will be first, the oppressed will be freed.
When evil darkens our world, you will discover God working in unexpected places—your life, giving words to witness to God’s love and strength to be strong in face of conflict and division. Are you hurting, lonely, frightened, picking up the pieces of shattered dreams? My Father, God, will through me, in you, bring new life.
I close with the prayer by Rabbi Chaim Stren that gives me light in the midst of the darkness and evil, through the Holy Spirit, to witness to hope. “When evil darkens our world, let us be bearers of light. When fists are clenched in self-righteous rage, let our hands be open for the sake of peace. When injustice slams doors on the ill, the poor, the old, and the stranger, let us pry them open. Where shelter is lacking, let us be builders. Where food and clothing are needed, let us be providers. Where knowledge is denied, let us be champions of learning. When dissent is stifled, let our voices speak truth to power. When the earth and its creatures are threatened, let us be their guardians. When bias, greed, bigotry erode our country’s values, let us proclaim liberty throughout the land. In places where no one acts like a human being, let us bring courage; let us bring compassion; let us bring humanity.” Amen.
November 18, 2018; Cycle B; 26th Sunday of Pentecost
Isaiah 43:1-7; Psalm 22:1-11,19-23; Heb. 10:11-25; *Mark 13:1-9