Week two of Advent has not been just a remembrance of the despair and darkness felt by our Judeo-Christian ancestors; it seems more like a re-enactment. I am not a person who cries easily, I have sometimes wondered if there is something wrong with me or my tear ducts. But this week has undone me. Tears have been my daily response and maybe God’s daily gift to me.
In Memphis, there was a critical-condition shooting of two police officers on Friday morning. Martoiya Lang, a young female officer with four children, died. Just after the MPD shooting hit the news, the terrorism in Connecticut was announced. I can only imagine the suffering of the families; I cannot know it. My tears have given me an inkling of Jesus as the suffering servant and of the astonishing compassion of a God willing to become incarnate and subject to this suffering.
I keep hearing a song the Memphis Men’s Chorale sang a couple of weeks ago at the annual AID’s Healing Service. It is called The Prayer of the Children. The words were written when the civil war in Yugoslavia broke out by an LDS missionary named Kurt Bestor, who had served in Serbia in the 1970’s. The words of the first verse seem eerily appropriate to Friday’s’s horror.
on bended knee, in the shadow of an unknown room?
Empty eyes with no more tears to cry
turning heavenward toward the light.
Crying Jesus, “Help me
to see the morning light of one more day,
but if I should die before I wake,
I pray my soul to take.”