Sunday, September 11, 2011


It's been a full weekend for me.

Friday and Saturday I spent over 16 hours in downtown Columbia, enjoying the Roots n Blues n BBQ festival. Saturday morning into the afternoon I was at a conference in Columbia about ministry to prisoners re-entering society. Sunday morning I was at church. Off and on all day Sunday I've been watching and listening to stories and features about the 10th anniversary of 9/11/2001.

At the music festival a man sitting next to me was struggling to understand the definition of "the blues".

"If it's the blues," he asked, "why does everyone seem so happy about it?"

I thought for a moment and responded, "Jesus told us, Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.'

"And it's always true, " I added, "that there's no comfort unless the blues come first. That's just the way of the world."

At the Prisoner Re-Entry Conference, a woman told about a program called Celebrate Recovery, a 12-step program for addicts. And she pointed out that "there's no Recovery to celebrate unless first there's been something Lost."

It's the way of the world. We all know this.

There's no reconstruction unless there first has been destruction. There's no renewal until the old dies. There's no rebuilding something that hasn't first fallen apart.

It's the way of the world. And yet we struggle to remember it.

Ten years ago, we all remember where we were when he heard or saw the news about the first plane that hit the tower. The news was a strong reminder that things go wrong. The world is most definitely cursed with accidents and tragedies.

But then we learned of the second plane and the second tower. And that hit us harder, because we were suddenly, abruptly, brutally forced to remember that not only to bad things happen, but that there is no end to the depths of darkness and evil that people can and will descend to.

We all are capable of horrible thoughts and acts and deeds.

It's the way of the world.

I deal with people in prison ministry who have plumbed the depths of the darkness of which they are capable. And many are brought up short, stunned at where they've ended up. Wondering if there's anyone who understands.

On Sunday morning, at my church, we all shared in the weekly communion service. It's a reminder for us all that there is no resurrection without suffering and death. Sunday only arrives after Friday, and the long wait of Saturday.

The world is cursed. Death and destruction and chaos will happen again and again, and yet we keep forgetting, keep thinking it will not be so.

Faith doesn't mean we pretend the world is different than it really is. Faith means believing there is more.

We need to be reminded that we have a Creator who willingly subjected himself to the effects of the Curse, experienced the trials of life and agony of death.

It's the way of the world. And our only hope is to share in His suffering, to let our old selves die with Him, and to also then share in His new life.

He knows. Even when we forget, He knows.


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