As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”
— Luke 19:41-43
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
— 2 Chronicles 7:14
That picture sits over my desk at our home. It came from New Orleans and is by Tammy Gaulter. I bought it on a trip Karen and I took some years ago, at the end of a season of reading and reflecting on the history of racial injustice. For me, that image is of heaven weeping. I could not help but think of that image of heaven weeping over the United States as I have watched the news these last weeks. Our nation seems broken and I believe the angels are weeping.
However you understand the events of last week and this week, they are heartbreaking. The anger, the vitriol, the violence and the vengeance are nothing if not sad. A friend told me of her child watching the news and retreating into his bedroom, declaring that he didn’t want to leave the house, that he wanted his family all together. I can hear the pain for both parent and child in that, and heaven is weeping.
My eldest brother, himself a partisan warrior, often reminds me of the words of Susan B. Anthony: “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.” Maybe it is time for us, the people called by the name of God, to humble ourselves — that is, give up our own pride of opinion — pray and seek God’s face. Maybe this is the time for the people of faith to fall on our knees and weep with the angels. Maybe this is the time for us to repent of the anger and division we have let take hold, even among the people who are to be known by our love for one another. May God have mercy on us and on this nation that we love.
This Is My Song v. 3
This is my prayer, O Lord of all earth’s kingdoms:
Thy kingdom come; on earth thy will be done.
Let Christ be lifted up till all shall serve him,
And hearts united learn to live as one.
O hear my prayer, thou God of all the nations
Myself I give thee; let thy will be done.
O God of heaven and earth, your son wept because we did not know what makes for peace. Teach us to weep. Teach us to mourn. Teach us to seek the way of peace. May our nation be healed, may your people seek your face, and may all the earth know your grace. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Pastor Tom Greener