The Princess Bride is keeping me company in this rather solemn night.
A bit of brevity after a hell-of-a-week.
I appreciate the emotional respite – the oasis – this goofy movie creates in a week of innocents lost.
Boston was shaken and so was the nation.
We who go and give and do and sing of a land where God’s grace is shed…were reduced to grief.
Grieving lost safety and justice and that our children have suffered at the hands of cowards bent on unholy war.
And in our prayers, we cry out for hope and vengeance.
We ask, “Where is God?” as the worst of human agency is unleashed onto a celebration day.
He was there.
Prompting the weary and wounded to run towards the battle.
Whispering bravery to the weak and afraid.
Giving calm to teams of doctors and guardsmen and volunteers and runners giving aid.
He tucked me in that night – that terrible night – and every night since.
I know so little for sure, except that God is not sleeping and we are not alone in this world.
A world where furious cries for justice would cause our own demise
and a sinless savior died for the very ones who unleashed hell on families and friends…on us.
He stands with the Syrians who know explosions and horror too well, the Greeks in their grave uncertainty, the Chinese in their rubble and the hungry and the abused and the desolate and the rich and empty ones.
The Chechens and skinheads and abortionists and pastors and priests and tiny kids in the kindergarten room and that driver who just cut you off on Tomball Highway because her head was in her heart and grief consumed attention (I am so sorry.)
He stands with us…or for us in our weakness.
Trust me, I’m angry.
Violence has been visited upon us and we are changed.
It is inconceivable.
That God would invite us to forgiveness and rebuilding and thinking not of ourselves as first, but as a distant second to his purposes.
That our healing rests in our forgiving
and NOT forgetting the sorrow and horror
when our neighbor(s) cry for mercy
Let this change be towards grace and action
and not towards empty words of rhetoric and hate
or death by fear.
Let us remember the heroics, the sacrifices, the “helpers” that we have seen – these everyday ordinary people who responded to a call for help and hope and justice.
It’s been said that the true character of a person or a nation or a Church arises when the crises has passed and life resumes. What do we remember? What do we choose to forget? Have we asked for help or responded to the orphan cry?
Have we done the hardest thing – to forgive?
I’m not there yet, either. But I’ll keep trying and asking God to help usher in and cultivate forgiveness.
We must ask ourselves at the end of the day, Have we been changed for good…
and not evil?
Art by Suzy Smith, Gainesville, Georgia folk artist