I was thinking a lot last night about this most recent tragedy to befall the innocent. We had Sandy Hook, and Boston, and West, and now Moore. And those of us “winter Christians,” who tend to struggle with the problems we see in the world around us – this is our time. The summer Christians who perhaps tend to downplay suffering and tragedy must sit up and take notice, and for once, everyone is on the same page. Our page.
But I’m also a person who in the past year has learned that not only do I love the physical world around me, but that it’s OK for me to love it. And not only that, God loves it, too. He loved it so much, he took on flesh and allowed himself to experience the physical world for himself – or at least as much as he could. He even suffered and died so that he could restore it to himself. For whatever reason, God loves the world and the people in it that much.
So I recoiled a bit as I heard some of the same old reactions to the Moore tornado that we hear after every tragedy – reactions that sound uncomfortably close to the lyrics from some classic hymns: “Just a few more weary days, and then I’ll fly away.” Or, “This world is not my home; I’m just a-passing through.”
This world is our home. We live here, fully present in its joys and its sorrows. We await a return and a restoration, but until then, we groan with creation, hoping for a release that is so hard to find, some days harder, much harder, than others.
For all of the tragedy and the sorrow and heartbreak, this is a good place. We would not bring more lives into it if it weren’t. And those lives matter. They are not insignificant ciphers on their way to somewhere else. They are children of God, and the loss of even one blasphemes the goodness of creation. We can, should and do mourn them.
Yes, we have hope, and with that hope we wait for the day when all things are restored to the one who made them and he banishes forever the chaos that breaks into our lives.
Until then, we do so much more than pass through: We live, and we love. We celebrate, and we grieve. In short, we risk. Because this life, and this world, is worth it.