Wednesday, February 24, 2021

I’m Getting Older - Lament

I’m getting older. 

It’s not just a biological fact, it’s starting to show – inside and out. Those that haven’t seen me in a while say, “Your hair’s all white!” I wear contact lenses sometimes but I still need cheaters to read. My arthritis is getting worse. My bad foot has become a worse foot and I can roll my ankle stepping on a pebble.

I’m not in my twilight years, but I’m living in a twilight time, a twilight zone. I’m preaching Sunday on Paul and the promise of God that comes not by label, denomination, party affiliation, or rule-following, but only by faith. That the promise rests on grace and not the law, from the one who raised Jesus from the dead. But that’s not what I see. It’s not what I feel. 

I’m getting older.

I see people who are more worried about who our president is or was than who their neighbor is. They find the latest meme or post that says, “Yes, read this!” when it has nothing in mind but saying me and my kind are right and you are wrong. We put labels on others yet say we love everyone. We ask to be forgiven for our trespasses but want punishment for those who trespass against us. We brag about our baptism or about when we were saved, forgetting that the God who adopted us out of our unworthiness also adopted others, too: our brothers and sisters, related by blood – the blood of Christ. Does God approve of how we treat our blood-kin?

We’re addicted – alcohol, drugs, work, food. But there are worse addictions. Hate. Gossip. Undermining each other. God sees what we post on social media, hears what we say in our circle of friends, knows our hearts and minds. I’m not sure that we care. We just want to be right. We want others to be wrong. We need labels so we can know the good guys from the bad guys. We’re addicted to being divided. Even the Church seems to need to be divided. We say it’s “their” fault. “They” seem to be the cause of all our troubles. I really think “they” is a way to escape from saying WE. God forbid anything be **my** fault.

500,000 dead in my country. Some say it’s an exaggeration, even a myth. All I know is that I’ve buried my share of those 500,000: church members, relatives, a close friend or two. That it is even up for debate makes my hair even whiter, my heart more broken, makes my insides hurt as much as my outsides. We’re callous to death. We’re disrespectful to life. Life is precious. Instead of hurting for others, we invoke politics and conspiracy theories to cover up our own sadness and inflict it on others.

I’m getting older. 

Some days the arthritis and heartache is a lot. But Lord, please don’t take away my – take away OUR - ability to feel. Even when we try to take it away ourselves.