Today I wake to a sense of the paradox of life. Still energized by the visit of Pope Francis and a 2-day gathering full of hope this week for generations younger than mine, I am nearly crushed by the latest random, senseless shooting of college students in our country and futile wars around the world. I can no longer live in one reality or the other but have come to know the necessity of bearing both sides (or rather all sides!) of this chaotic era at once. How does one hold all this? Having gone the route of protest and demonstrations in my younger life, I now find the necessity of silence and the spiritual practice of connection with peace and love at the heart of the world to be my contribution. We all need to find our place in seeking solutions to violence and injustice. It is helpful for me to read the words of the psalmist who, at the beginning of Psalm 69, seeks the face of God in symbolic flood waters threatening to drown him. Save me, O God, I cry, I’m in deep waters over my head and sinking fast. My feet are mired; there’s no firm ground for me, no place on which to stand…These words give voice to the feeling of helplessness in the face of great evil and destruction. But faith will not allow the drowning to occur. Here is the section of the psalm that appears today and calls me to return to the trust that God will not abandon us.
In my affliction I know nothing now but deepest pain, my only hope, that you will lift us from this miry clay. I raise your name in this my final song to you. I offer up my words, a sacrifice of praise…And all afflicted ones in life will hear my song and finding strength, will seek you, God, with all their hearts and live. For your own ears are always tuned and turned to needy ones. You never spurn or cast away those bound in chains. So let everything in heaven and on earth offer up their praise, for God rebuilds their walls; their land is freely given back in full. And even children of the lowly ones who trust your name find lodging safe and home secure at last in you.