I have never been very good at Pastoral Responses. Those times when a word is needed to help frame specific events and tragedies that happen around us, or even to us, as a collective people. One on one, we can at least listen and offer up a ministry of presence. But communicating to the masses only seems to feed the machine that helps propagate and perpetuate soundbites and the always present search for the right scapegoat.
There is no scapegoat to cast the blame on the events that have occurred just in the last week alone.
There is no scapegoat to cast the blame on the tragedies that have fallen on Alton Sterling, Philando Castille and his four-year-old daughter, Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, those many more wounded, and countless others traumatized by the senseless acts of sin and evil of others.
This week my heart is raw. My capacity to comprehend is exhausted. I have no great answers, and I frankly question anyone who would want to offer any up for such a time as this.
What I want to offer is not a person to blame or a logical reason for why we have to justify the existence of others – black and blue alike.
Instead, I want to point my heart and mind and strength to hope.
Hope that is found not in justice imperfectly administered by fellow fallen and sinful people.
Hope that does not reside in the hands of the socially powerful or the culturally privileged.
Hope that does not depend on the firepower at one’s side or the force of numbers at one’s back.
But hope that resides perfectly in the person of Jesus Christ. Who administers justice perfectly as the innocent slain on behalf of the guilty. Whose hands bear the marks of powerful love scarred forever for you and I, and who has the right and the privilege to speak and act on behalf of all who suffer the insufferable.
He knows what it is to suffer. He knows what it is live with tragedy, and die at the hands of corrupt and corruptible men.
And He knows that one day, in the end, the senseless will end. The corrupt and corruptible will be stopped.
Revelation 22 ends with the temporal plea of His people that will one day give way to inevitable reality and the eternal praise of His people for all He has done in bringing about His perfect peace into this world of evil, and hatred, and murder, and strife, and war, and insecurity.
It is the hope that is a person, not a process.
And we plead for this because it is Him and Him alone who knows what it means to suffer the ultimate injustice and yet rise up from it in order to stand with and for those who also suffer in this world and life.
The plea, the promise, and the praise our hearts, souls, minds, and wills need:
“Come Lord Jesus come.”