“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.” Psalm 16:5-6
We are so fortunate, not lacking food, shelter, peace, or medical care. But so many others throughout the world, even in our own backyard, do lack some or all of these things.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night but find no rest.” Psalm 22:1-2
As long as there have been creatures on earth, there has been hunger, conflict, and hurt. Humanity has cried out to gods or God for thousands and thousands of years.
“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me, hear my words. Wondrously show your steadfast love, O savior or those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.” Psalm 17: 6-7
Still we hope.
“Woe to the guilty! How unfortunate they are. For what their hands have done shall be done to them.” Isaiah 3:11
How much of this is our own doing? How many thousands of years; what have we learned? Are we doing better? Do we oppress others less, care for those who cannot care for themselves better, protect the weak? Why do we expect God to fix this for us? Are we not responsible?
“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46. God came to us incarnate in Jesus, the remembrance of whose birth we anticipate, and Jesus cried out these words on the cross. Godself crying out our distress as one of us. The way to help us is in us. God did not come sweeping in as a flame or a wind or something glorious and magnificent as we might expect of God. God came as a human being to break in to the world in a new way, to reach out to us, to keep trying to teach us who God is and how to be God’s hands and feet in the world, to teach us God’s way.
We need God. We can’t fix it ourselves. We need to learn God’s way. We cry out, and we wait, and we also struggle and learn and grow stronger. The crying out is part of the relationship, not only helpless expectation of rescue. We wait. We anticipate. And we learn to act.
We remember, and we celebrate Jesus’ birth. God, help us to understand it as an invitation from you. A hand held out – “Come and know me.” An invitation to learn to know you better and to keep becoming your hands and feet in the world.