So I’m still reeling about this past week. If you caught today’s sermon, you’d know what kind of week we’ve been having, and after I wrote today’s sermon, that explosion in Beirut happened. This just added to what was already a difficult week.
It’s like every time we turn on the tv or open our web browsers or even glance in the general direction of a news source, something has happened that makes us shake our heads and wonder why. We like to throw blame on various sources, like it was the terrorists, or the political party that we didn’t vote for, or just whoever happens to fall into the “them” category in relation to ourselves. We like to explain away various situations with conspiracy theories, ghost stories, and just general scapegoating.
But sometimes (or perhaps much of the time), things happen because things happen. People do strange things because people snap and do strange things. There is evil in the world because all of us, each and every person who is alive or have ever been alive, has the capacity to do evil.
That is the long and short of it. Things don’t always happen because there is a great, grand, movie-script type story behind it, but because some people can be just plain evil. Or perhaps careless. Or even clueless as could be the case with some of the stupidity we see from time to time.
But we still cry out to God. We still call for help and hope. We still cast our eyes to the hills for our source of comfort and support.
Just believe that God answers.
I never really liked this story in this week’s gospel lesson, because it makes Jesus sound like such a jerk. How he ignores the Canaanite woman, how he then calls her a dog, and his whole dismissive attitude is just awful. But as the story progresses, her persistence wins and Jesus heals her daughter.
While the story ends well, it still leaves a bad taste in our mouths.
We don’t like dismissive Jesus. We don’t like how he pretends that the Canaanite woman isn’t even there, asking for his help. We don’t like how this story sounds all too familiar as often it’s like our prayers and calls for help go unanswered as well.
Our loved ones die and stay dead. Our friends and family get seriously ill. Our world is getting torn to bits and it’s like we are being ignored and rejected.
But has God actually rejected us?
By. No. Means. !.
Rather, God continues to give us good things. Namely, God gives us grace, mercy, and love. I know it doesn’t always seem like it, but things will get better. We will pull through. We will continue to be God’s people and children as that unnamed Canaanite woman, in all her pesky faithfulness, remains as a child of God.
I don’t have all the practical answers for what is going on in your lives and in the world. I don’t have sound pieces of advice on how we’ll cope and manage. I don’t even know what we’ll have for dinner tonight. But I do know that God is with us, caring for our hearts, our soul, and our lives, constantly bringing us in to live with God, each other, and all the saints.
So what does that mean for us besides a lot of churchy language? It means that we’re loved. It means that we are cared for and thought about. It means that we aren’t, have never, and won’t be alone through this journey of life, but that at very least our community is ready to support us in our times of need (as well as our times of plenty).
Take heart, my friends. This life isn’t meant to be an easy one, but it is one of meaning, relationship, and some semblance of joy.
Peace be with you all. Have a great week (all things considered).