Grace in God-forsaken places

Chapter 40

Good Monday Morning to this week 41 of 2020

Last week I got a message with some very disturbing lines of hardship and trouble. Ending the message the question was raised and ended the conversation abruptly:

Has God forgotten us?

Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
Psalm 10.1

Why do You stand afar off, O LORD?  Here, the psalmist asked a question well known to those who follow God: the concern, the anxiety, over the seeming inactivity of God. The psalmist felt that God was afar off and did even hide in times of trouble.

or in Mark 5:

If we ever wonder how bad it can get, how lonely, how divided, how isolated and separated we can become, this passage in Mark’s gospel paints the picture in haunting detail:

The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 

Brendan Busse, an Jesuite writes:

The poorest places of our world are never so poor as to be truly God-forsaken, but they have certainly been desecrated. The real scourge of poverty is not about being God-forsaken as much as having been desecrated by systems and structures, personal and social sins of violence, exclusion, and exploitation. The sanctity of life is damaged or denied by a lack of compassion and care. What God created in his goodness we have desecrated in callousness and cruelty.

In Mark 5.9: Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

God-forsaken places don’t exist and God-forsaken people even less so. You only have to visit to know that this is true. Walk into those places and up to those people and simply ask, “What is your name?” And the forsaken will be returned to themselves, the human family made a little more like what God intended. The many become one, with not a single person abandoned in self-harm or isolation, but rather something more like a family reunited, like a lost child returned home.

One way to walk out of the “God forsaken places” he further writes:
In God-forsaken place’ we do simple things – simple verbs are the heart of the matter: We share, we accompany, we collaborate.

I wish you a week full of hope and care for those feeling “God forsaken”.

Philemon

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