kindom musings

Thoughts and musings from a pastor in the peace tradition. Perspectives come from a progressive, justice-minded, feminist position. Responses are welcome.

Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States

I am a Church of the Brethren pastor in my thirties. While I love what I do, I started out with plans to be a veterinarian. God has a great sense of humor, and I wound up in ministry instead. However, my sojourn into veterinary science did make me a vegetarian with a love of animals. (We have two cats and a dog at home -- only a small petting zoo!) My husband is also ordained, and we have a son (LB) and a daughter (KB). My husband keeps me up to date on baseball trivia, and my children keep me giggling. All in all, it makes for a well-rounded life. I was born in Pennsylvania, moved several times for school and work, and have recently returned to my home state. On the Myers-Briggs scale, I'm an INFP.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

of rain and tears

This was originally going to be an article for the church newsletter, but it feels too dark, too heavy. I realized about halfway through that it has more of my own processing than a neatly wrapped newletter page feel to it. So I post it here in its combined roles as personal reflection and pastoral letter, though a piece of me wonders if this raw piece would be more of what at least some people need right now. ...

So far, this Spring has been very wet. Between regular showers and the dreaded Nor'Easter, rain and threats of snow have been regular features of weather forecasts. Local creeks and rivers have reached the top of their banks, and more than once, the children's sing-song rhyme, "Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day" has come to mind.

It makes me think of other rain phrases: "Into every life a little rain must fall"; "Every cloud has a silver lining"; and "When it rains, it pours." All of these sayings try to make bad situations seem better, and unfortunately, all have been overused to the point that they feel more like trite cliches than expressions of sympathy or comfort.

But rainstorms come, sometimes when we feel least prepared. Sometimes things happen in life that flood our ability to cope and make sense of what's going on around us. As I write this reflection, news stories are filled with unfolding events of the multiple shootings at Virginia Tech. The news is so tragic, so horrifying, it sweeps over senses like tidal waves, flooding us with grief and questions. What could have provoked such violence? How will families of victims find strength and healing? What about the family of the shooter?

Once again, our general feeling of safety and normalcy has been drowned in a torrent of anxiety, shock, fear, and anger. In the days ahead, we will assuredly get much more information -- probably more than any of us can handle. Even so, many of us will still be asking questions of why and what now. At times, we may be tempted to want the stories, like rain, to simply go away, taking all of the pain with it. But unlike rain, there is no positive outcome we can imagine. So how do we make sense out of what is senseless? Perhaps it's too early to ask the question.

This is a time to trust and rely on faith. Without trying to find easy answers, we are drawn by the comfort and wisdom of spiritual ancestors who called upon God to find meaning in the midst of despair. Like other people of faith through the ages, we try to come to tems with actions that are cruel and violent. In the process, we come face to face with God who "makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:45)

As tears fall from the eyes of those who are grieving, we struggle to come to terms with what it means that evil exists in the world, even as we, to quote one reporter, "must hold to the belief that there is good in the world." As rain falls, sometimes with destructive force, we find hope that the sun will shine again, drying the earth once more. As tears fall and we lose sight of trust in humanity, we also look for signs of care, of courage, of God's infinite compassion, and ultimately, of life.


Blogger Pamela said...

JEsus promised in this world we would have trouble. He also said that we were to be of good cheer because he had overcome the world. He said this that we might have hope. Have hope.

8/11/2007 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Moya said...

Well said.

11/11/2008 6:59 PM  

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