Lenten Devotion - day 4
While I am writing these for you, I am sharing them, but I want you to know (without getting too personal), I am praying for you. The grief you are experiencing, and the grief you are getting ready to experience breaks your heart, and broken hearts hurt.
As you are well aware, I am Christian cleric—one who will quote from other religious tradition, but Christian nevertheless. I had another friend ask me once why I stay a Christian. That friend sees in me my love of encountering God wherever I find God, and sees me finding God when I am with people from other traditions and read from other traditions. I tell him I stay a Christian because this is the path I walk, but it is more than that.
Lent is the journey to the cross, and the cross still means everything to me. I can’t claim to understand fully what the cross is about, because I don’t. I never will. But I love it. I love it because it’s terrible, and I love the idea of the incarnation, because it means that God will go through the most terrible of things too. There are so many terrible things in the world, in life, and you and I… we feel the feelings of life. Life is often so hard. And, if isn’t hard for me, I know it hard for others, and I wish no one suffered.
But, we do suffer, and at least part of the reason we do is because we love. My daughter, older than yours but no less my child who will always be the one I used to hold to my chest when she cried at night, she still blows me kisses when I drop her off at school. I am grateful for that. Sometimes we pretend that the blown kisses slap us. A couple of months ago she blew me a kissed and was slapped by it and I asked, “Why do your kisses hurt so much?”
She said, “Love hurts daddy.” It does. The world only breaks our hearts because we love it, because we know it can be better than this. And, I want to believe, and I do believe, the world breaks God’s heart too. Worse than that though is when it feels like the world will break us. You know those moments, when it feels like too much. Some people get it even worse than feeling like it’s too much, the world actually breaks them.
I suppose I need the cross. I need God on the cross. I need a God who knows how terrible it is, and knows because the world broke God too. The cross is the world breaking God, and even God feeling God forsaken.
Is it terribly strange that I take comfort in that God was broken by the world, and screamed out in forsakenness? But, I do. It means everything to me. It means I am never alone, and you are never alone, and no one is ever alone. It means that even when we scream out that we are forsaken by God (and in those other moments when we even wonder if God even ever was), that a voice rattles down the corridors of time and joins with our voices saying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
And the terrible and holy irony is it’s Jesus’ voice from the cross, and I believe that was God because I am a Christian. I stay a Christian because I believe God died on a cross. And, I can’t say that gives suffering meaning, because to hell with that; but I can say it gives me comfort. I don’t know why, but it does, and I am grateful to be a Christian because it gives me more comfort than anything else I’ve ever heard or believed. It means I’m not ever alone, no matter how I feel.
My dear friend, if you feel alone, you’re not. It might be the closest to God you’ve ever been. Grieve hard and know that God hurts with you. And, if that doesn’t seem enough, don’t forget I’m here too.
Until tomorrow my friend,