We’re waiting for You. You are like the spoiled heir disporting himself on the Continent; we are the dependents on Your estate who have nowhere else to go. We don’t hear from You for months or years, no matter what is happening among us, although there are rumors now and then. If news of us reaches You, You seem to be indifferent; at the least, You don’t put in an appearance.
Yes, when You finally show up there will be rejoicing. Cautious rejoicing. We will wait to see if You have matured and will take Your responsibilities seriously. Then maybe life will become more fair, more beautiful. Maybe there will be no more devastated parents with empty arms, terrified patients in medical gowns, refugees dying under a desert sun, thrown-away children. When You finally mature, will You fix our minds and spirits? Will You fix the arbitrary cruelties of the natural world?
In Evening Prayer we say
V. Show us your mercy, O Lord;
R. And grant us your salvation.
Thomas Cranmer forgot something, though, so I am adding it here, an introductory versicle and response:
V. Come into your maturity, O Lord;
R. And turn your eyes and hands to your creatures.
My Lutheran friend acknowledges that there are no good logical answers to questions of theodicy. Most people acknowledge them and then proceed on the faith that You are good, and they are not supposed to understand why evil exists unchecked. They are able to acknowledge their questions but proceed on trust. I proceed on their trust. Being apart from them, week after week, is very hard.
When my brain turned on a while back, I got interested in the Bible. You’re quite different in the Bible from the ideas I’ve always had about You. Here’s You in Hosea, chapter 11:
How can I give you up, Ephraim*?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah**?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim**?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
I will not execute my fierce anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and no mortal,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.
*Ephraim is a name for God’s people, Israel.
**Two towns destroyed by God at the same time as Sodom and Gomorrah.
You are so tender here. So loving! I know what it is, though: the mercurial nature of the immature. Tender one day, callous the next. For Christians, there is the added information that You put in an appearance a while back, and did a thing that deepened and extended our relationship with You, and then You went away. You Yourself seemed to think You’d be coming back soon, but instead here we still are, waiting. Did You get distracted? We make up all kinds of excuses for You, because we are invested in You. When will You turn from Your amusements, whatever they are, face Your responsibilities, come back to us, and do what is right?
May 20, 2020 COVID-19 Infections and Deaths