Saturday, November 3, 2018

Real Persecution

My heart is stricken and withered like grass; I am too wasted to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my skin.
I am like an owl of the wilderness, like a little owl of the waste places.
I lie awake; I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.
All day long my enemies taunt me; those who deride me use my name for a curse.
For I eat ashes like bread, and mingle tears with my drink, because of your indignation and anger; for you have lifted me up and thrown me aside.
My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.
But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; your Name endures to all generations.
 
Ps 102:3-12

Yesterday, I was led by an Emerson quote to think about false claims of oppression: "Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted." Today I am led to think about real persecution. I am mindful of those who in ages past have been killed for their beliefs or herded into concentration camps because of their race. And I dare not ignore those in my own day who are being driven from their homes because theirs is not the religion of the majority or who are fleeing violence that makes meaningful life impossible. Psalm 102 is their prayer to claim, not mine. My relationship to the prayer of Psalm 102 is to be part of its answer, to help provide a broad space of deliverance, a place where my persecuted neighbors may eat their bread in peace. How can I look at the faces of children fleeing Syrian rebels or murderous Central American gangs and respond by closing my borders and shutting up my storehouses? As a disciple of the One who gave his life that others might live, I simply cannot. And as a citizen of a country that should be sending an army of social workers and legal experts to the border, not armed troops, I dare not pray this prayer on my own behalf, but on behalf of the homeless, the refugee, the hungry, and the pursued.

Forgive my indifference, O God. May meditating on your word bring me to a new understanding of what it means to claim you as my Father, your Spirit as my Guide, and Jesus Christ as my Example in life and in prayer...