Tag Archives: Isaiah

Is This War?

Sometimes I think we are at war. At war with the environment. At war with each other. At war with other countries. At war with whoever disagrees with us. At war with those who are different…even with those in our own families.

Yesterday, we all got word of another mass shooting, in another place where people are supposed to be free and safe. Shortly after that, the predictable war of words started because no one can agree on what to do. People immediately started criticizing one another about Why This is Happening Again. Someone even lashed out at the fact that someone else invoked prayer because “if prayer helped, people wouldn’t be shot in worship.”

All I know is it feels like more than any one of us can bear. It is too much. It is wrong. We are wrong. Nothing we are currently doing is working. Tearing one another apart is certainly not working either.

This Texas church shooting hits home for me because I’ve served the last 30 years as a pastor in a variety of churches in Texas. In the last decade or so, I sat in on meetings where we talked about what to do if this kind of unthinkable violence happened during worship. The sad truth was that no amount of security would help because churches are such open and welcoming places, filled with all kinds of people with all kinds of issues. Our doors, lots of them are open. I believe the same could be said of concerts, sporting events, parks…well, everywhere.

One expert said, “The best thing I can tell you as a pastor on the platform is to hold up a Bible or a hymnal and maybe you can deflect a shot…and then run.” I remember thinking, “I’m pretty sure I could not deflect a shot nor would I run from my people if that was happening. Never.”

I can’t even find words. I’m writing today to say, I can’t even find words.

In Isaiah, there is a glimpse of how it might be without war and it has to do with living more into the way we were created. As a person of faith, I still believe in that vision…where God’s reality includes no war. Swords, spears and even guns, vehicles and other things that destroy us turn into shovels, plows and hoes…tools for growing things and feeding people. Isaiah 2:4

God, today, I have no words. Can you please help us stop these wars? We cannot do it on our own.

Advertisements

Mom Love

Mothers Day is Sunday and it will bring expressions of love, gratitude and sentiment–good, bad, cheesy and pitiful. The reason is that mothering is such a mixed bag of everything. Love, for sure, but also fear and worry, anger and angst.  Nobody mothers perfectly. For one thing it is hard, and daily. And, the feelings attached to mothering are so strong and pervasive that they go on for years, even beyond the lifetime of the mother and the child.

Recently, my husband and I were on the road, returning from an out of town funeral and storms were all over west and north Texas.  Even though we are pretty much grown ups now, both sets of our parents were checking on us to see if we were safely home.  Moms always want to know the chicks are safe and sound.

We have two grown children and one who is almost grown. I still have that feeling I had when I was pregnant with my first one, that overwhelming feeling how vulnerable I felt loving this little one so much, even before I ever met her. My heart was now walking around outside my body. I also clearly remember the day I made the connection to how many times the Bible refers to God loving us like a parent and I realized maybe that’s how God loves, in that incredibly vulnerable Mom way.  God, would then, hurt when we hurt; want desperately to protect us; would suffer when we make bad choices and on and on.  Oh my. could it be that God doesn’t just love us? God loves us like a mom.

After my daughter was born and I returned to ministry after a maternity leave.  I remember sitting at my desk, just this bundle of hormones and new emotions.  Did I mention guilt?  I was preparing to lead a staff devotional the next day and was looking for Biblical inspiration.  Isaiah 49:15 dared to image God as a nursing mother saying to the people, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb?  Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”  Through nursing, my body was physically attached to my baby daughter.  It was impossible for me to forget her.  My body would not allow it.

God says, “So it is with me.  I love you and am connected to you like that.”  I know how I feel as a mom, connected forever to my children. It takes my breath away to think of God saying to me and to you, “My love for you is like that. It’s not just any love, it’s like mom love.”