Thursday of the Third Week in Advent

Lectionary: 190


For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great tenderness I will take you back.
In an outburst of wrath, for a moment
I hid my face from you;

But with enduring love I take pity on you,
says the LORD, your redeemer.



Every time a Veteran in the hospital tells me he is divorced I feel a pang of sadness. Having never been married, I cannot imagine how deep that sadness must feel to him or her, but I'm sure no schoolchild ever resolved to grow up someday and be divorced. How dreadful that collapse of a dream must be. 

And yet the story is so common we seem to take the sadness for granted. It's just there, to be ignored like the excess weight in one's body or the smoker's shortness of breath.
Perhaps divorce is the reason why millions of shoppers rush the stores on Black Friday to spend billions of dollars on stuff that no one needs. It salves the pain that we'd rather not think about. 

Perhaps divorce is why 22 Veterans kill themselves every day, and the reason we rushed into those pointless wars in the first place. Perhaps that's why many people die of drug abuse and alcoholism; while others abort unwanted babies.

Can anyone measure the depth of sorrow in this privileged nation, this land of the free and home of the brave? Why do we flatter ourselves with such absurd epithets? How much more would we suffer if the president, the congress and the supreme court were to admit, this is the most pathetic nation on earth? Our suffering is like the glaciers of the ice age which covered most of North America, miles deep with no hope of springtime. 

The Prophet Isaiah, measuring the depth of his people's sorrow, heard the voice and God and spoke to them: "
...with enduring love I take pity on you, says the Lord, your redeemer."
The doctrine of sin reminds us it doesn't have to be this way. The doctrine of grace teaches us to hope.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.