October 12

October 12
By Pastor Jonna
“Weep for Yourselves”
 
Read: Luke 23:26 – 34
 
This passion passage might seem oddly placed in October, especially since I asked you to consider Advent and Christmas last week. But I will ask you to stick with me, and hopefully the timing of this devotion will make sense to you.
 
The passion narrative is recounted in every Gospel, each including and omitting certain parts, which are more or less important to the author’s goal. Luke 23:27 – 31 are unique verses to the Gospel of Luke, and strike me every time.
 
Jesus knows that he will not escape a most excruciating death, yet he does not encourage tears for himself. He tells the women to weep for themselves and for their children. Jesus’ purpose will be complete in his death and resurrection; good will be brought from his humiliation and pain. But his followers will experience destruction of the temple and city, and they will be forced to flee. They will experience persecution for the name of Jesus and will wish at times that the mountains would fall on them, that they would be swallowed up.
 
I was reminded of this passage in a recent conversation with a friend. I cried, as I shared the heaviness of my heart over the state of our country and world. We have abused creation and are paying the consequence – animals have been forced to interact differently with their surroundings which then carry disease that kills millions of humans, and pollution which changes our climate and exacerbates the consequences of fire. We have not perpetuated a system of dignity for all people – and then have fought over it, with each side claiming to be in the right and violence and violent language becoming an all-too-common reaction. And then of course our politics, which have been so divisive; it’s painful, sad, and embarrassing.
 
I lamented to my friend that many of the responses I have seen from people, both Christian and not, has been a similar response – a defense of one’s position and incredible anger toward those who disagree. I have not seen many tears. I have not seen many who respond to what they see, not with anger, but with tears.
 
As Christians, we will be very unconvincing if we respond as everyone else does. If we respond to someone with whom we disagree with anger and rhetoric, if we fail to pray for changed hearts – and that ours too will be changed, if we fail to listen, if we fail to grieve. Our current situation is a grievous one, and I invite you to join Jesus’ invitation from Luke 23, to grieve. Perhaps our tears and humble hearts will be a tool used by God to speak in much greater volume than anything else could.
 
Heavenly Father, we confess our readiness and inclination to be like the darkness around us. We confess that we have at times acted more as victims than as a people who are called to be a city on a hill, a light which gives light to the entire house, salt and light in a world that desperately needs hope, which desperately needs You. Be with us and transform us, that our hearts would be like Yours, and that our relationships would be healed. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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