During times of deep national mourning, outrage at the injustices of life, and stark realization of individual helplessness, it is hard to know which way to turn. I opened Proverbs 2 and did not find comfort so turned to Psalm 2 but that felt dry too. The thought of going to Matthew 2 came to mind as we are in the year of Matthew, looking at the life of Christ through the report of Matthew. Sunday we will celebrate Trinity Sunday, open the doors of the church with safety precautions in place, and our texts for Sunday will return to Matthew. We enter Pentecost, “the long green season,” 27 weeks long after the Easter season. It is the second half of the Christian liturgical year. The first half we look at Scripture to learn who our God is. The second half we return to many of the same passages to reflect on what those same passages mean for our lives. So looking to Matthew 2 might not be so random.
In Matthew 2 we find the baby Jesus born in Bethlehem and the Magi, the wise men, searching for him. Herod’s men pull out prophecy that sends them to Bethlehem. They give their gifts, worship and in a dream are warned to flee. Joseph too is warned in a dream and flees with his family to Egypt. Herod’s soldiers arrive and slaughter all male children under age two. We read the quoting of a prophecy from Jeremiah 31:15, “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more.”
Talking with a friend yesterday, we reflected on the many who identify with the injustice being demonstrated against – the injustice of racial profiling, for many the injustice of divorce, for others the injustice of untimely accidents that brutally robbed their futures; the list is unending as we grieve today. As I read on in Jeremiah 31 after verse 15, “This what the Lord says: v. 16 “your work will be rewarded,” v.17 “there is hope for your future, v. 18 “I have heard Ephraim’s moaning,” and finally in v. 20 “Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I till remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,’ declares the Lord.”
Whatever the burden your heart carries today, our God hears our mourning and hears our cries in the midst of our chaos. Blessings as together we live through these days of confusion.