Selected by reader, Pastor Terri Phillips, from Fort Worth, Texas.
My daily routine these days includes moments, or even hours, of inner rage about injustice. Most of the time, I am limited in my verbal response, and often my hands feel tied in responding in action. This post reminded me to look for evidence of God’s love, even in the most wretched of circumstances and events. And to remind myself that the loving justice of God is sure. I may not be an instrument to render justice, as I fantasize to do, but I can more than imagine ways to deliver the fruit of the Spirit to the “least” of those around me. I don’t have to wait for a politicized, public moment to express love, kindness, joy, patience, and goodness. I can purpose to do that every time I see a need. I can share the Gospel, AND I can give a cup of cold water, give my finances, and shield the helpless. When I am with Jesus on the Concrete, I am empowered by the Holy Spirit of God.
Scripture Focus: Psalm 119.50-53, 61, 64
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
The arrogant mock me unmercifully,
but I do not turn from your law.
I remember, Lord, your ancient laws,
and I find comfort in them.
Indignation grips me because of the wicked,
who have forsaken your law…
Though the wicked bind me with ropes,
I will not forget your law…
The earth is filled with your love, Lord;
teach me your decrees.
Only the suffering God can help. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Reflection: God Shivering on Concrete :: Readers’ Choice
Originally published June 24th, 2019
By John Tillman
There is great wickedness in the world. Yet, in such a world, the psalmist proclaims God’s love, the power of God’s laws, and the strength of his desire to know his God more deeply.
Even in a world in which a person may be bound with ropes, or separated from their family, or denied justice, or put into a cage, or killed for the convenience of others, or hung from a tree, or gunned down in a church… Even in such a world, the psalmist tells us, “God’s love is evident.”
Wickedness is evident. But God’s love is also evident.
It is evident in the many Christian and secular organizations that move, at times into dangerous circumstances, to help the downtrodden, the poor, and those purposely excluded from justice. It is evident in the disaster that our God promises to bring upon a nation that ignores its responsibilities to the poor and to the foreigner. Our God humbles nations addicted to greed—including His own. Our God sends help to the helpless, no matter the owner of the goods, the ship, the truck, or the organization.
God’s love is evident in God’s help, but more so in his presence. Our God is with those who suffer. Our God lies on concrete floors under aluminum blankets with abandoned children. He bleeds on the floor of a sanctuary with victimized worshipers. His arms bear wounds of unjust captivity. He bears scars familiar to those who have been brutalized by government forces.
God’s love is, of course, most fully evident in what we call the gospel. The gospel puts wickedness to death in the way it deserves. Christ, through the cross, drags evil to Hell and abandons it there, setting free Hell’s captives. But merely chuffing about “the gospel” in the face of evil makes us into signposts on the road to Hell rather than gatekeepers in the house of our God.
One of the endlessly repeating themes of scripture and especially the Old Testament is that God’s people are to be kind and compassionate to foreigners and strangers.
Reach out in God’s love in any way that is available to you, whether through financial means or political. Even giving a cup of water in the name of Christ to the least of these will be remembered.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Blessed be the Lord! For he has shown me the wonders of his love in a besieged city. — Psalm 31.21
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
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Read more about In Denial about Injustice
To judge our cities (to lead them) we cannot be in denial about injustice. Denying the existence of injustice is not how to be a patriot. It is how to get exiled.
Read more about Truth Unwanted :: A Guided Prayer
Remind us, Lord, that this world is not our home to defend, but it is the world you died for and we can expect to do no differently.