My sermon on Sunday reflected on the '99' and the '1' (Luke's Gospel) and invited reflection on the '1' with fresh eyes - not as the lost sheep that has gone astray that we might associate with the lonely, the loveless, the alienated, the misunderstood, the brokenhearted, but rather the rich, powerful, and privileged who have gone astray from the '99', who exist far from the heart of those in the local and global community whose lives they impact. The '1' could also be those people and places where wealth, health, opportunity, education etc is seen as a right, and the '99' are those in the global community who struggle to survive and to strengthen community life and resilience. How might we be community together, seeking the common wealth and the common good for all. I came across this reflection from Pastor Steve Garnaas-Holmes on next Sunday's RCL lectionary reading from Jeremiah and was struck by the imagery and meaning. It invites us to be with God, present in the most difficult of circumstances: 'the heart of God is hidden in the wound of the world'. What might this say to us in building and supporting relationships across the breadth of the DIAKONIA world community?
For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt,
I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.
Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no healer there?
Why then has the health of my poor people
not been restored?
Lay aside the armor of your little troubles.
Quit your sordid affair with happiness.
Enter the black-draped house and stay there.
Your sister and brother are in the mourning parlor,
and they need you to sit with them.
Christ is not consorting with angels above,
but still among the slaves and prisoners,
mothers helpless beside their children,
the scum, the used, the lonely and despairing.
Let your heart be ruined with them.
It is for them, yes, and for you—since hearts,
like seeds, give life when broken open.
But first it is for love of God
(imagine the tears of God that no one dries),
that God should not weep for her children alone.
Even if it changes nothing— will you do this?
Come sit with God in our overflowing grief,
for the heart of God is hidden in the wound of the world.
What privilege is higher than to be shoulder to shoulder
with Christ, his hand on yours, carrying the cross?
Don't expect it to get better, to stop hurting. It won't.
Don't be afraid to mourn for the world,
to bear the wound too deep in you to be patched,
to stay sad a long time, without demanding relief.
For here in the deep root of our pain is our oneness,
and here is the Heart at the heart of the world.
The wailing of a God who is not easily consoled
is the sound of a love that is never overcome.
Our sorrowful longing is the Spirit of God,
who creates worlds. Our hurt is our hope.