“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4)
“In this Beatitude, Jesus praises the weeping class, those who can enter into solidarity with the pain of the world and not try to extract themselves from it.”
It’s just so heavy. The weight of so much tragedy, so much division, so much brokenness. The past few months have been especially full of it, haven’t they? Or perhaps I’ve simply had my eyes open wider.
I feel helpless. I look around the world and I see the gaping wide wounds of injustice all over it. I see the way people are suffering, the way people are dying, the way people are killing, and I have no idea what to do about it.
Yes I am here, laboring for redemption in my own little corner, with my own little beloveds… but it doesn’t feel like enough. Surely there is more that I can do.
Here I am in my little room, heavy with the weight of it all, heavy with the weight of caring. I don’t know how to help but I feel the need to simply sit with it, to grieve for what is grieving the heart of God, to mourn with those who mourn.
I gather all the candles I can find-there are sixteen of them-and I leave them unlit, cold glass jars on the floor. I turn off the lights and that’s what sparks the crying: the room is so dark, mirroring what I see in the world. Oh God this is not how you intended for it to be.
The match’s flame slices through the darkness as I light the first candle. I pray for Gaza, I pray for Israel, and I am weeping as I beg God for redemption and for peace. I light another candle and wrap my hands around it. I pray for the immigrant children seeking safety & refuge among us. I pray for the communities they’ve fled from, communities ravaged by violence. I hold another candle and pray for Ferguson. I am crying harder now, my heart is broken open for the Momma’s who’ve lost their babies. I am lighting candles, praying for chains of injustice to be loosed, praying for the scales to fall off of our eyes. I light candle after candle after candle, cupping them one by one, praying miracles for women still dying in childbirth, praying healing for those being annihilated by ebola, praying God’s presence for the Christians being killed in Iraq, praying comfort for the loved ones left behind when that plane was shot down, praying freedom & justice for those still trapped in Guantanamo, praying wisdom for our President, praying love for my faraway daughters, and on and on and on and on. I run out of candles before I run out of reasons to light them.
As the light flickers brighter with every candle lit I see hope dancing away the darkness. I am inviting God into our mess, and I see that God is already here. Always here. His is the heart that breaks wide open first. She is the One inviting me to carry this burden of caring, this burden of Love.
I carry on crying, believing that somehow my tears matter just as much as anything else I can do. I am all out of prayers, and all I hear myself saying now is Jesus Jesus Jesus . . . You are our only Hope. Jesus Jesus Jesus . . . You are the Light of the world.
But You say it right back to me… you, Darling, are the light of the world. And I know You mean it because You’ve already told us so, in Matthew, in Isaiah, in Acts. You’ve given us Your Light, and oh Jesus I have so much to learn about how to carry it into these ruins of Eden, but maybe this is as good a place as any to start. Here on the floor, here with these candles, here with a heart grieved for what grieves Yours, here praying for Your Kingdom come.