That was a week. By the pure volume of news about things blowing up, flooding, people dying, and now earthquakes, this past week will be one that is not easily forgotten. Weeks like that make me happy that I am not a part of the constant, always-on news cycle anymore. They remind me why I got rid of cable.
Yet, even while getting all my news from two-minute YouTube clips and the Chicago Tribune’s tweets, I got enough exposure to know this was going to be a week when I was going to have to prepare something else for my Sunday sermon. And, for as much as I may have like to, I couldn’t just sigh. I had to say something different.
It didn’t start that way though. On Monday night, I wasn’t planning on changing my direction at all. Because we are still in the Easter season … the season of new life.
And I could still talk about the power of resurrection that was seen in those people ripping away at the mess of scaffolding left by the two bombs that went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I could talk about the goodness that was seen in all the first responders and ordinary people that ran toward the broken windows and bodies.
On Monday night, I wasn’t planning on changing direction out of principle. Because, in too many places in the world, Monday’s events alone wouldn’t have been enough to require a change.
By Monday night, more people had been murdered by guns in Chicago than had died in Boston in the same 24 hour period.
By Monday night, more had been murdered in bombings in Iraq and Syria in 24 hours than were killed by guns in Chicago all of last year. And, if I’m honest, I wouldn’t have changed direction because of either of those Mondays.
Wednesday came, and I got caught up in the industrial explosion in Texas, but wasn’t going to change direction for that. I didn’t figure you’d want to hear me talk for 20 minutes about the need for us to hold the owners of that fertilizer plant accountable in the same way we would those who set off the bombs in Boston.
And then there was the storm that began that night and kept on going until well into Thursday. And then there were the floods that followed.
And I pondered changing the text to the story of great flood in Genesis, to point to the faithfulness of Noah and family as they endured the rain and the months of wondering. I figured that would be how long we’d have to wait before anyone was identified in the Boston bombings. And I would have tasked us with remembering the good news that a rainbow is coming. Because, let’s face it, at Holy Covenant we love rainbows. (more…)