Sturm und Drang. Disquiet. Emotional turmoil. Across all four readings for today, there is no joy expressed. The ultimate lesson from John 8:33-47 is that “whoever is from God hears the word of God.” But the sorrow and suffering, grief and despair described by the author of Psalm 88—abandoned by friends, neighbors and assumedly by God—are very difficult for this Christian to assimilate.
The lamentations of Jeremiah aren’t much different. In modern vernacular, it’s “Follow my instructions or I’ll blow up your village. And I’ll burn down your olive trees—because I can.” Were threats and intimidation the only way to convey the message of God in ancient times? In a significant part of the world, that still seems to be the language and methodology with certain religious groups. Why are Christians different?
Is it because we follow the teachings of Jesus Christ? Is it because our document, the Bible, contains writings of people who actually saw Jesus—and can tell us what he said and did, acts we can model ourselves around? As we progress towards Good Friday and Easter, I wonder about the answer. . . . Why are Christians different? Or are we?
— Diane Wakat