Where Is God?

where-is-godHow many have you have driven some of the long, boring stretches of the Trans Canada Highway? That’s the first thing I thought of when I read that passage from Isaiah: Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And you will fall asleep while driving…

But as I pondered the reading a bit more, I realized was that the reading spoke of making a clear path… what I began to think about was barriers… barriers of all kinds… barriers to communities… barriers to love… barriers to church… barriers to peace.

It’s Remembrance Day on Friday… A day set aside to remember all men, women and children who have died and who continue to die as a result of war. They lost their tomorrows… And we lost their tomorrows. The world lost and continues to lose the potential of so many people. Not just people living in this wonderfully safe country of ours… but people all over the world.

My father was in the Air Force, I grew up on air force bases in various parts of the country… my ex-husband and all of my brothers-in-law were in the navy… and I have a nephew who served in Afghanistan and one who joined the army a year ago. All that it is say, I have the utmost respect and pride in our forces… but I wish they weren’t necessary…

As it was written in the gospel of John, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Indeed that is true… but I long to live in a world where that is not necessary. I long to live in a world where all people live in peace. I long to live in a world where all the barriers between people are lifted and we can see each other as beloved of God. The God that goes by many names.

Have any of you read I Shall Not Hate by Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish? He is now known simply as “the Gaza doctor” who captured hearts and headlines around the world in the aftermath of horrific tragedy: on January 16, 2009, when Israeli shells hit his home in the Gaza Strip, killing three of his daughters and a niece.

“I know that what I have lost, what was taken from me, will never come back. But as a physician and a Muslim of deep faith, I need to move forward to the light, motivated by the spirits of those I lost. I need to bring them justice… I will keep moving but I need you to join me in this long journey.” – from I Shall Not Hate

“What can you do? You can do a lot. You can support justice for all by speaking out loudly to your family, friends, community, politicians and religious leaders. You can support foundations that do good work. You can volunteer for humanitarian organizations. You can vote regressive politicians out of office. You can do many things to move the world toward greater harmony… http://www.amazon.ca/Shall-Not-Hate-Doctors-Journey/dp/0307358887

I heard him at St. Mary’s University a few years ago… His powerful testimony in the face of such anguish… his refusal to hate… I have never forgotten. When asked what can we do? His response was, “Start with your community… create peace in your community…”

Those words bring a poem by David Whyte to mind, it’s entitled Start Close In

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.
Start with your own
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something
To find
another’s voice,
your own voice,
wait until
that voice
becomes a
private ear
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don’t follow
someone else’s
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake
that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.
~David Whyte, River Flow: New and Selected Poems

You and I can’t solve the all problems of the world… or at least I don’t think we can. But we can make the world a better place. We can start close in… listening to one another… We can support our Mission and Service Fund as it does amazing work on our behalf, both locally and around the world. We can support other organizations that do peacemaking work.

We can season the world with rich saltiness, because everyone here, EVERYONE, has something that brings out the God flavour!

We can shine our light for ALL the world to see… because our light comes from Jesus.
Our living example of what it means to live both humanly and divine. We can tear down the barriers that separate us from one another!

God is in the straight paths and God is in the valleys and mountains.

God is in the salt and in the light.

God is in you and you and you and you.

Thanks be to God, amen.

Isaiah 40: 1-5  Matthew 5:13-16a

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s