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Room for Rage

Herod sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” – Matthew 2:16-18 (NRSV) 

If you had a beautiful, Rockwell-esque Christmas holiday – and I hope you did, in whatever ways are most meaningful to you – remember that even in the midst of such beauty: there is still rage and grief and wailing within your spirit that needs to be noticed. 

If you’re feeling good about the tide of your preferred political platform, if you’re full of confidence in the direction of the economy and the government, remember that even in the strongest bull market: there is still rage and loud lamentation and inconsolable pain in the world that needs to be addressed. 

If you are eager to throw your 2021 calendar in the trash, and you have all of your incense and candles and rituals prepared to sweep out 2021 and bless 2022, remember that even when the year is new: there is still rage and death and dreadful absence that haunts our collective spirit and needs to be healed. 

Make room for the rage.

Welcome it like a weary traveler who can’t find a room in the inn.

Give it space where it can cry and groan.

Light a candle if it labors through the night. 

Do not be quick to console it, only keep it company to be sure it doesn’t harm others.

Make room for rage. 

Amplify its voice. 

Do not be embarrassed if it echoes through the streets; they are missing something that it offers. 

Let it be messy and imperfect. 

Let it teach you something. 

Let it convict your heart of love and justice. 

Make room for rage. 

Prayer: On the verge of something new, a storm of rage brews for all that has been, for all that could have been, for all that will be because of what was. Here is my rage, here is our rage, here is my siblings’ rage: loud and inconsolable. May it be a blessing. 

written for the Daily Devotional

Dreaming

When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. – Psalm 126:1 (NRSV) 

Am I the only person who reads Scripture and begins to hum a Broadway tune?

“We were like those who dream,” pens the psalmist, and I start singing: “I dreamed a dream in times gone by, when hope was high and life worth living,” in my most dramatic Fantine imitation (Les Misérables). 

Dreams – aspirational, fantastical, and nightmarish alike – are something of a time warp experience. In a moment of dreaming, our minds trip across past, present, future, to create something new in a moment when it is intangible. A nightmare can interrupt the present with the past. A vision can give the present a hint of the future. A daydream can reimagine the present with an entirely different future.

“In the past when God restored the fortunes of Zion,” describes the psalmist, “we were like those who had imagined such a future but couldn’t believe it was at last their present reality.” And then the psalmist prays: “Do that again, O God. Interrupt our present with future fortunes that we used to have. Speed the season between weeping and rejoicing, between planting and harvesting, so that we can reap goodness in the present to heal our past.” 

The psalmist’s dreamy conflation of time reminds us – helpfully, thankfully – that God is not a linear God. God is not a time-bound God. A dream can heal the past. A prophesy can secure the future. A new awakening can change the present. 

And who I am, how I am, is neither pre-determined by my past nor by my future nor by my present. It is still being dreamed by God. 

Prayer: Miraculous God, unbound God, healing God – let me not lose hope that the past can be healed, let me not be afraid that the future is unknown, let me not believe that the present is without a harvest. 

written for the Daily Devotional

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