“Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes. My eyes shed streams of tears, because men do not keep thy law.”
There has been a significant shedding of streams of tears in 2020. Recently, and by recently I mean, last night, I shed tears because I saw video footage of a 12-13 year old black female child being violently held, pushed, restrained and then and cuffed on the ground with a heavy knee in her small back. She was a child. A child. I didn’t want to watch but I felt I should, because there is a reality that needs to be faced rather than denied. So I watched and my eyes shed streams of tears because there are people who do not keep God’s law. God’s law is love thy neighbor. Thy black neighbor. Thy gay neighbor. Thy white neighbor. Thy Republican neighbor. Thy Democrat neighbor. That’s the challenge of loving thy neighbor. It doesn’t mean your neighbor always thinks, looks, acts, or believes like you do. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Radical words. Law of love. Law that I don’t see being adhered to more often than not.
I see folks blatantly refusing to wear masks. I see verbal disputes erupt between strangers. I see adults acting like schoolchildren in a spat on a playground and I think, are we not better than this? Can we not simply keep the law? And I shed more tears.
There is certainly a time to shed tears. But if we follow the words of the psalmist we also must pray that we sense God’s face shining upon us. We must also ask God to teach us those statutes, we must learn and study them together. As congregationalists we claim to be seekers, not holders of the truth. That means we are always learning and growing. We have not perfected God’s law of love, but we must strive always to fulfill it. Even when, especially, when it’s difficult. Love requires action and speech and discomfort. Sometimes love means we shed streams of tears because it breaks us that the law is being pushed aside.
Like the psalmist, allow yourself to be broken. Allow yourself to shed tears. Allow yourself to love deep enough that it hurts when others don’t. This is the law of love. Let God’s face shine upon us as we seek to uphold it.
Prayer: God dry our tears when the pain of watching our neighbors suffer is too much to bear. May we be comforted and encouraged to change the system, to uphold your law of love, and to shine the light we received from you to a world who needs it. Amen.