Friday – November 15, 2013; Luke 17:20-37

Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed;  nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.”

There is a lot of bad news in our world these days, from the recent disaster in the Philippines, to the now (sadly) routine stories about people who have who have lost their lives due to violence, crime, floods, fires, earthquakes and other disasters big and small; and in the face of all this suffering there are many people who will find themselves asking the question: “Where is God in the midst of all this horror?”

The answer to that question can be found here in today’s Gospel: “God is here with us!”

This is a nice, comforting answer, but one which can leave us feeling a bit let down, or disappointed, and wondering …if God truly is with us, then why does this suffering continue seemingly unabated; and why does it often seem like it is innocent children who suffer the most?
Even in the midst of our own disasters: a bruised knee, an occasional broken bone, a school fight, poor grades, or more seriously, a neglectful ‘other’ parent, or even a visit from the Police or trip to the ER or to court…we may also be asking: “Where is God in the midst of our troubles?”

The answer IS still that God is right here with us!!!

Unfortunately God does not always step in to stop people from suffering…why?  The most honest answer is that we just don‘t know.  Perhaps, as one of my seminary professors taught us, it is because our world is broken by sin, misunderstandings and injustice; and therefore our relationship with God is also broken not complete, meaning (as Jesus said in today’s Gospel) that the Kingdom of God is within our grasp, but not yet fully realized in our world.

I know, this sounds very Theological (remember I do have a Master of Divinity Degree) but it is true…

Our world is not perfect, and neither are we, but God is, and I believe that God does not want us, or our children to suffer…and weeps with us when tragedy strikes, from the loss of a pet, to the loss of a loved one…to the loss of thousands due to war or natural disasters.  We do not like to see our children suffer, and neither does God; however there are times when we cannot prevent their suffering or sadness, and simply have to be with them…just as God is with us when we are suffering or in pain.

God’s will is for us to be happy joyous and free, and that is the promise of Christ, that when we are fully reconciled with each other and with God there will be no more suffering or pain…in the meantime we have our faith in God, the presence of the Holy Spirit in the world, and our support of each other, as we face life together as children of God.

Let us Pray

God, thank you for always being with us, in joy and in sorrow.  Thank you for the comfort of your spirit and of each other.  In the midst of tragedy that we cannot begin to understand, or just in the every day struggles of being a single parent, help us to remember that it is never your Will for us to be in pain, and help us to support each other in faith, and in the hope and promise of the Resurrection: that the Kingdom of God is within our grasp, and that we will reach it…together.

Amen

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