Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor

How do you feel when you switch on the news channel or flip the papers and read about that 23 year old girl who did not survive the inhumane torture on that fateful night in New Delhi, one of the largest economies in the world? Anger? Helplessness? Disgust? How do you really feel towards the victim, her male friend, the gang? How do you feel towards the Indian government? The Indian culture? Indian men? And perhaps, as a result, towards God?

While some have appealed for peace and calm, is it truly possible to feel peace and calm within, in the face of such injustice? Can anything really appease the fire burning within, the soul's outcry for justice? Perhaps the death sentence of those 6 men? And for that matter, of all those who have ever committed such a demeaning act? Can any amount of torture, caning, fine, jail term, death sentence diminish or alter the cruelty that have already stained the innocent lives? The shame and scars permanently left? 

Does not the anger within start the mind on the generation of even more cruel ways of getting back at those men? Skin them alive? Immerse them into boiling water? Perhaps even castrate them? Sure it can quell the anger in our own hearts. But to what extent can these bring about the healing that the victims and their families really need? 

Where is God in all these?
Where is God when He is most needed?
What kind of God do we have who seems to sit back and do nothing in the face of suffering?

In our limited capacity to love, we are indescribably disgruntled. How much more it must have pierced the heart of Jesus. When our unknowing and incomplete understanding of God's Will put our faith to the test, shaking it right at its foundations, and we begin to question if there really is a God somewhere up there, can we hold fast to our believe in this God who always keeps His promise, who loves us far more than His own life? Can we trust still in the hope that God hears the cry of the poor and will raise them up from their nothingness, that He has always been and is still continuing to be at work in the world to bring about our salvation? 

Is He not found in those who have taken to the streets to put pressure on those who have been less than responsible in maximising their authority and resources for the voiceless, and who perceive their mediocre efforts as "best"? There are thousands who have felt and have owned up to their feelings towards all these injustices and are now standing up for justice, to be the voice for the voiceless. Is He not found in the specialists who worked tirelessly, trying their best to preserve the life that was discarded by others? Is He not found in our own hearts, in the hearts of those who have stormed heaven with sincere prayers? Is He not found even in the death of the victim, whose every wound, every scar, regardless of its depth, is now fully healed and made whole and perfect again with the fullness of God's love that He must have received and embraced her with? What would life be for her should she have survived and lived on?

Peace and calm can only return when we decide to let go of our mixed feelings and our need for everything to be under control and in order, and then humbly seek God's healing (because we are wounded ourselves by such savagery) with the childlike trust in the hope that in His hands and with His love, all will be ironed out. To allow Him to help us forgive even when those involved really do not seem to deserve any forgiveness, keeping in mind that even in our "lesser sinfulness", we too do not deserve the death of an innocent Man who died for all sinners, "big" and "small".

The 3rd and 4th verses of this song (found in Breaking Bread hymnal):

Every spirit crushed, God will save; 
Will be ransom for their lives;
Will be safe shelter for their fears, 
And will hear the cry of the poor.

We proclaim your greatness, O God,
Your praise ever in our mouth;
Every face brightened in your light,
For you hear the cry of the poor.

Where in our lives have we in large and small ways been robbed of our human dignity?
Where in our lives have we in large and small ways robbed others too of their human dignity?

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