Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk


God is with us!

At the close of a Quaker Meeting a few years ago I was speaking with a weighty Friend about Darfur. We were both outraged about the carnage and abject horror the people of the region were experiencing. We discussed the timid response world leaders and governments were offering to address the genocide. I remember remarking to this Friend that “the Lord provides”. She answered that unfortunately that is not always the case. Her remark took me back and gave me reason to pause. It led me to question a very basic supposition of my faith; that the Lord is a personal God, a quick and present helper at all times and under all circumstances.

I began to wonder if I was being flippant or merely mouthing a hallow cliche as my personal testimony of faith. Did my remark express an emotional ambivalence to this human tragedy? Was it a tacit expression of my disengagement from the situation and my intention not to get involved. Was it an excuse for not taking action because I’m not responsible so I am absolved from a responsibility to act. Or was I rationally recusing myself from involvement because God was in control? Taking comfort in the rationalization that fate, karma, kismet and divine intervention was not the province of humans and was way above my humble pay grade? Perhaps it was a Pollyannish expression of my faith? These questions made me uncomfortable in my understanding of God and how God is made manifest in the lives of humans.

My partisan Christian ears thought the Friend’s answer may have detected a hint of blasphemy. But I knew that the theology of many Quakers do not understand God as an incarnate presence on earth. So this could not be interpreted as a blasphemous admission that God is not omnipresent nor omnipotent. In a queer sort of way this may serve to absolve God from the moral damnation for permitting this to happen. It also lets God off the hook for being slow to act in saving these people from such a terrible fate.

I firmly believe that the Darfurs of the world are the handiwork of men and nation states. If the nations of the world lived in cooperative unity, offered mutual support and practiced tolerance for cultural and political differences the state of civilization would more resemble the paradise of heaven. It would indeed be more to the liking of how God wants us to behave and live as we spend our short time here on earth.

In the deepest and darkest places of the globe were life seems to have little value, where cruelty and brutality are life’s daily bread, where living one more hour seems to be a miraculous accomplishment; those are the places were God dwells and is made manifest in each breath, each heart beat, each drink of water and in every crumb of food that passes through a hungry mouth. God lives in the heart and hopes of those who struggle to endure yet one more day. God lives in each kindness, each helpful offering of aid, within the encouragement of each small word, a comforting embrace or beloved kiss. Those are living embodiments of answered prayers by those who are suffering from debilitating privation, sickness and oppression. Yes God moves in these people and lives in the rubble of those places; offering all the transcendent possibility that all is not lost, nothing is ceaseless and God remains a good and present helper.

The Quakers have a saying, “All God Hast is Thou.” The weighty Friend who stated that God doesn’t always provide spoke a plain truth. She challenged my faith and helped me to understand that we are Gods hands here on earth. We can use our hands to build up the kingdom and put them together to offer ourselves as a fervent prayer by placing ourselves at the service of others.

God is manifest and dwells among us.

God is with us!

You Tube Video: Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel

You Tube Video: Mahalia Jackson, Troubles of the World

Risk: cynicism, defeatism, selfishness, unbelief

December 24, 2008 Posted by | faith, politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment