March 16, 2022

Good afternoon,

We are halfway through Lent. The sky has not opened for my soul. Those liminal or thin places have not opened in the snow, rain or sky. I might be positioning my eyes and ears to the wrong spaces. Words of Scripture continue to flavour my world, but nothing earth shattering has been revealed to me.
I am angry.

 Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
    happy is the one who repays you
    according to what you have done to us.
 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
    and dashes them against the rocks.”   Psalm 137:8-9

The Psalmist is angry at the enemy, the Babylonians. I am angry at the Russians. I am angry at war, in general. I am angry at the Israeli government for how they have treated the Palestinians for over 70 years, a slow genocide. I am angry at the Colombians who kill peace and justice workers. I am angry at bullies. I am just an older man who is angry that he can do nothing to change all the bad things in this broken and crying world. The Psalmist could not change the fact that his people were refugees in a strange land.

I am taking this course from Canadian Mennonite University about the life of Desmond Tutu. Tutu was born in the time of apartheid in South Africa as a black man. Despite the harsh treatment of the blacks in South Africa for decades, he remained hopeful that things would change. Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years. Both Mandela and Tutu were leaders in the change of government and the church. Tutu was an Archbishop in the Anglican Church. The Dutch Reformed had supported apartheid, and then through pressure said they had been wrong, and said they had been sinful.

Mandela and Tutu instituted the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. From the telling of stories of people who were tortured,  and those who tortured people, there was some reconciliation. But, both Tutu and Mandela for all they had endured remained joyous and hopeful. They were Christlike. They are models for all of humanity in generosity, joy and humility.

I am angry. I am not Tutu or Mandela. My journey into the center of Lent must address this emotional baggage  I carry. I do not want to be there like the writer of Psalm 137 who wants to injure children.

Prayer   God,   
   rid me of my anger.   
I know,     it has to be my journey.     
You will not flash a magic wand, 
  and POOF !!! Over and done with it.   
Come, Lord Jesus,   
 walk beside me,
and we will walk  
    to the cross.   AMEN.

Chaos in the winds
Scattering my troubled thoughts
to land on soft clouds            Monica Pieper Landoni 2022