While my church isn’t meeting in person due to social distancing, my pastor has been putting out weekly video reflections (with some announcements at the end, but don’t let that scare you off). I thought today’s was beautiful and moving and I wanted to share it with you all.
Today we continue our Lent series, “The Weeping Word“, looking at different moments of crying, lament, and tears in the Scriptures.
In the early chapters of the Bible, there is perhaps no greater symbol of injustice than Hagar, the Egyptian servant of Abraham and Sarah. She is under forced labor, and is made by her master’s wife to bear a child by an old man. She is, in essence, a sex slave. After Hagar has her son, Sarah deals very harshly with her, causing Hagar to run away. God chases her down:
The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave-girl of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?”
Lately, I’ve found myself getting very nostalgic, remembering past relationships, friends, places I’ve lived, and people I’ve known. And honestly, I don’t know why my remembering and thinking through all of these things in the past has caused more tears than laughter, especially in the area of relationships.
I have found myself lingering on the Facebook profiles of old roommates whom I’ve completely lost touch with inexplicably. I have been reading through old emails and blog posts that remind me of spiritual fathers and mothers with whom disagreements over the past several years have led to very real divisions..
And yesterday, I heard a song that reminded me of a situation a couple of years ago that was incredibly painful for me. It wasn’t really any one’s particular sin or moral failings that ended up causing all the hurt and pain; just the collision of people’s own baggage and immaturity and struggles. As I thought back on it I remembered the false ideal picture of reality I had blindly painted for myself at that time. I remembered the slow, painful process that was this picture being broken down brick by brick over the course of several weeks. I felt again the shadows of the anxiety and pain from that time.
For one of my seminary classes (which started this week) I’ve had to read the Gospel of Matthew. When you read a large chunk of a Bible book in one sitting, you really do get to make connections and get perspective you didn’t have before. I had many moments like that when reading Matthew yesterday, but I had one particularly poignant moment that relates to all of the Syria talk that’s going on in our country right now, and adds to my own comments a couple of days ago.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus begins preaching on his own, gathers some disciples around him and continues teaching while they watch. Eventually, in Chapter 10, he sends this community of people, encouragement, and support off to do ministry in various towns in the wider area and to do what he has been doing among them.
Which means he is alone again.
Ah, this is a tough one to write. As some on the blogo-rounds have been quick to jump on the coat tails of, Al Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Karl Giberson, the Vice-President of the BioLogos Foundation, have been in a bit of a tizzy for the past couple of months. Mohler is a very conservative Evangelical whom Time proclaimed as the most influential Evangelical intellectual in America of couple of years ago. Giberson is also a Baptist, but has devoted much of his time, writings, and energies to showing how Darwinian Evolution is not inherently antithetical to a Christian worldview. Mohler, as can be expected, disagrees. This little debate has reached a climax in the past couple of days. For a full account of what’s been written in this exchange, I have a full timeline at the bottom of this post.
Hopefully in the next few days I can actually lend some (hopefully) helpful thoughts on the actual argument taking place, but today I just wanted to step back and lament a little.