As a pastor, I’m sometimes perceived as being closer to God than others. Though I believe that we’re as close to God as we allow ourselves to be. When tragedy strikes, as it did again, now in Parkland, Fla., people often ask: “Where was God when this happened? And I answer: “God was there. Where they were. And God is here. Where we are.”
People also ask: “How could this happen? Again?” Some wonder how God could “let it happen.” Although the truth is, God doesn’t “let” things happen. We choose how we’ll behave, vote, think, speak, and believe. We choose whether we’ll address the facts before us or whether we’ll wave them away. God doesn’t choose for us. We have choices and free will. We choose whether we’ll pay attention, whether we’ll open our eyes, our ears, our minds, and our hearts. Especially when another person doesn’t act, sound, think, live, look, or love as we do.
God doesn’t turn away, though sometimes we do because we don’t want to hear or see. It’s too painful to listen or look. “Besides, it isn’t our problem,” some say. “We don’t know them. They aren’t our children.”
Though as CNN News Analyst Philip Mudd’s cry reminds us: “A child of God is dead.”
And every death, report of harassment, empty belly, and orphaned child remind us how fragile and how precious life is. The reports invite us to turn toward one another in compassion, rather than turn away in disgust. For when we turn away from one another, we also turn away from God. And in doing so, we turn a “blind” eye to the “other,” who’s also a child of God: mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, husband, wife, partner, friend.
As we scan the headlines noting another school shooting, immigration “reform,” and all kinds of neglect and abuse, we would do well to remember: God isn’t a capricious puppeteer pulling our strings, logging whether some of us are more worthy than others, more deserving of peace, love, joy, sustenance, security, and safety. Each of us is worthy. We’re all one before God.
In the light of this new day, thoughts and prayers can seem worthless. Apologies and condolences may ring hollow. Yet, we’re continually called to open our eyes, to see that the Presence of God is here, with us, within us, and among us.
So, if we need something to do, after we cry, mourn, rage, and write or call our senators and representatives offering our opinions on how to prevent more carnage, we best take a loved one’s hand. We best look into a stranger’s eyes. Smile. Say: “The Divine in me beholds the Divine in you.” And truly look at them, knowing as we do, that God is here. Where we are. All beloved, divine, worthy Children of God.
Namaste, Blessed Readers.
© 2018 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.