Yesterday I stalked out of the church in frustration. I was working on a computer thing, and I am not good at that. I was looking for trouble when a car came flying down the exit ramp, circled the parking lot and parked abruptly. Coming into the parking lot down the exit lane makes me nuts—so dangerous! So, I was going to give this driver a piece of my mind, and tell her students couldn’t park in the lot. I cooled off fast when I saw she was a social worker I know, who works with kids, who is just great, and who made a mistake. We ended up laughing.
And my need to blame, someone for something, evaporated. Blaming is a lot harder in Christian community. When you look someone in the eye, see their goodness, hear their story, so much of the anger and frustration disappears, and compassion fills the gap.
But it is easy to blame God. You can’t see God. God does not defend Godself. God is an easy target. And there is a lot of potential material for daily blaming. School shootings, unjust detention, every 5 minutes in Washington, natural disasters—take your pick. God certainly has a lot of explaining to do. I am often singing the lyrics to “Calling All Angels” by Train. I need a sign to let me know You’re here…
Except that none of those things are God’s fault much less God’s desire. God grieves about tragedy more deeply than we could ever imagine. Most of the failings of our world are failings of relationship-and God is always offering that. Each of the people involved in hate and violence, someone, me, someone should have loved them. Love casts out hate and fear.
What we don’t want to think about too heavily is our own freedom. We want God to take care of things, but we do not want to give up the freedom in which we have been created. We do not want to be Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest post-lobotomy. If we accept freedom then we accept responsibility, and we each carry our own responsibility for making this world holy. We are all called to this every day.
The reality is that this seemingly impossible work is just easier when we do it together. We need an ever deepening connection to God in prayer, and an ever strengthened connection to each other. I can’t do it by myself. I need you. I am asking you to help me, to stand with me, to encourage me, to occasionally push me along. I will lovingly offer you the same support. And God will be greatly pleased and bless us. Hard work. But the sweetest possible reality in a harsh and sinful world.