At Morning Prayer today (I was onboard an airplane, as usual) we read Psalm 31, one of the most poignant psalms of confidence in God in the face of difficulty.
Blessed be the Lord!
For he has shown me the wonders of his love in a besieged city (Psalm 31:21)
The news of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, of war in the Ukraine and the Middle East, makes the notion of a besieged city real — at least as far as we can imagine it from newspaper photos and headlines.
But where are those who are actually besieged — whose loved ones died in the crash, whose homes are being destroyed by war — where are they to find hope?
On the Mystery of the Incarnation
It’s when we face for a moment
the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
the taint in our own selves, that awe
cracks the mind’s shell and enters the heart:
not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
to no innocent form
but to this creature vainly sure
it and no other is god-like, God
(out of compassion for our ugly
failure to evolve) entrusts,
as guest, as brother,
Hope is not something that simply exists. Hope is something we create as we share our presence, our stories of falling and rising, with those who are struggling.
We build hope as we encourage one another — not only by listening but by acting. We must not only grieve, we must also work to eliminate the violence and greed that destroys people’s lives.
In our case, it is Christ — guest, brother, Word — who inspires us to serve and helps us bring hope into a besieged city.
Prayer for Mission
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen. (BCP 101)