A gentle silence envelops the world sometimes. Wisdom 18 is a stunning reading, one of my favourites from the Hebrew Scriptures: While gentle silence enveloped all things, and night in its swift course was now half gone, your all-powerful word leaped from heaven, from the royal throne, into the midst of the land that was doomed, a stern warrior carrying the sharp sword of your authentic command, and stood and filled all things with death, and touched heaven while standing on the earth. For the whole creation in its nature was fashioned anew, complying with your commands, so that your children might be kept unharmed.
Ok, maybe some of that is a tad heavy and dark but today’s readings are a balm for those hurting in our world right now. This second massacre in Paris is heart-wrenching. Psalm 105 promises God will bring the people out with joy, the chosen ones with singing after hardships. The Gospel from Luke is about the persistent widow who knocks, demanding justice. She cries out day and night and the Lord hears. She does not fail to keep asking for what is necessary. Many of us are on our knees again, broken and weary. When will the madness stop?
This morning I was well enough to go hear John Prendergast speak at the local university. No one, oddly enough, mentioned Paris. The questions instead had to do with Sudan, Burundi and Canadian Indian Residential Schools. These are also places bleeding right now but the world is often unaware of their plight. Prendergast said that Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, Sudan, and neighbouring countries are the most violent in the world right now. How many people even know where some of these countries are?
This quote on Facebook caught my eye among the many images of Paris today:
later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
where does it hurt?
A gentle silence filled with tears envelops all things. The Powerful One leaps down and knows Death. This Warrior has defeated Death and has the last word. Are we listening? Instead a voice cries out that it is Syrians who have done this wicked deed and the borders should be shut to them and Fear raises its ugly and cowardly head. Like the widow we must be diligent and pray for a new creation where our children will be kept unharmed. God.has.this.too. I believe it. Love wins. Hope still springs forth. May we keep praying for justice.
O Powerful One who
leaps down and touches heaven
while standing on earth,
show us how it is done.
Teach us to pray for a world
where our children might be kept unharmed
and justice will prevail.
May we knock long and hard
at the doors of injustice,
where mercy is trampled and hatred sown.
May we bang on the barriers
until we break them down
and transform all of creation anew.
May a gentle silence envelop our souls
until we hear your voice telling us
that your will shall be done, not ours.