April 21, 2013
Oh, dear God, what an ugly, horrible week on this our planet, The Third Rock from the Sun. And I am one with those Judeans of the Gospel Story, gathered alongside them in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. I am one with those gathered indignant around you Jesus and I want to know, need to know, demand to know: “What sort of Messiah are you anyway?!? Just where the hell were you this past week?!?!?”
And Jesus answers . . . . “I was there. In Boston. Didn’t you see me? I was in the midst of it all the very instant the first of the bombs exploded. I was there . . . in the people who rushed toward the smoke, toward the screams, toward the unknown; I, there in those who tore at the barricades to get to those who lay on the pavement. I was there with and in those women and men who knelt down amidst torn and broken flesh, and who extended ungloved, unprotected hands to stanch the everywhere-fountains of blood and to cradle the wounded. Didn’t you see my picture? I was wearing a cream-colored cowboy hat, my dark hair streaming out the back, my mouth framed by dark mustache and goatee, and I was running beside the wheelchair of a man for whose mangled legs I had made a tourniquet from my outer shirt. I was there too in a dark-red-haired, late-middle aged woman wearing a navy-blue overcoat – I was there, on her-my knees, and mine were the prayers with which she implored the mercy of God. You saw me. You even posted my image on Face Book.
“And I was there too beside little eight-year-old Martin Richard; there with Krystal Campbell; there with Lingzi Lu – with each of them as each lay dying, there in light and warmth, bidding them ‘be not afraid.’ Though unseen, I was there to meet them at their final breath, to shelter them, and to take them to that place where they no longer hunger any more, nor thirst anymore; where the sun does not strike them, nor any scorching heat, where God has wiped away every tear from their eyes. And I AM, even now, beside the grieving who loved each of them so fiercely and well, and I AM in every tear of the grief-stricken as well; mine is the anguish with which they cry out. And mine are the hands as well of all that hold the hands of the disconsolate. I AM, there in all those who speak words of comfort, in those who sit silently with the ones who mourn, in those who bring them food, in those who will accompany them in the days, weeks, months, and yes, even years of their grief and mourning.
“And I was and I AM beside the wounded of Boston as well. I AM in doctors, in nurses, and in those who will teach them to walk and even to run again. I AM, there in all those who sit and wait and watch and weep with the families and friends of the wounded. I AM, there this day and in many days to come wherever and whenever someone listens to the anguish of any of the traumatized – whether the traumatized were near the bombs or half a world away.
“And yes, I was and I AM amidst the police and all of the public safety officers who worked the works of the civil law, that no more blood be shed, that no more violence be wrought, that chaos be stilled, and that the innocent as well as the guilty be protected from angry and darkened minds. And though it be a scandal and stumbling block to many, mine are the hands and the voices that pray for a 19-year-old Chechen boy lying wounded in a hospital bed – for I have proclaimed that my sheep do, indeed, love and pray even for those whom they call the enemy.
“Too, I AM and have been in the small town of West in Texas. I dwelt within those first responders who died so that others might live, and mine the limbs as well of those who pulled others out from the rubble. And I AM – in and with paramedics, doctors, nurses, nurses aides, counselors, priests, chaplains and all others who bandage, feed, bathe, soothe, and anoint the hundreds who survive.
“And though you may forget, I am in China as well, where the grief, terror, and devastation are beyond your comprehension. I dig through the rubble. I weep. I grieve. I comfort. And in China, in Boston, in Texas, at M.I.T., in Syria, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, on Loveland Pass – in any and every place where the little, the lost, the hurting, the grieving, and the afraid are being cared for and comforted, I AM. And those in whom and through whom I-AM-the-Shepherd-Messiah, most of them that do my true bidding do so unaware of the work I AM is working in them.
“And I AM, here on this cross before you as well, the Messiah who hangs on the cross that you know I AM the God who will not condemn any, not even those who speak ill of me, mock me, torture me, murder me. I hang upon the cross in your very sight that you know my kind of power is made most manifest in forgiveness, mercy, and love. And I AM – in the Easter word of peace – peace for those who denied and abandoned me – peace for those who know me not – peace for a world gone crazy with getting and having, peace for a world gone crazy with war and terror, and peace for you when you have strayed and fallen away.
“I AM here today too in, with, and under bread and wine beyond your own reason or strength; here I knit my skin and bones to your own body; here I saturate your own blood with mine – to give you peace, to bring tranquility, to heal you in body, mind, and soul so that you will go out and in your daily, secular lives be My Body in and for the world I love.
“And I AM as well the One who places upon your lips so that you bear in your hearts and minds this ancient song for your comfort and keeping when comes your own time of trial; these, hear them and hold them fast:
‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thous art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Though preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’”
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.