How do we respond? When we hear of terrible things in our world, how do we respond? When we hear of the attacks on Brussels, Ankara, Paris, how do we respond? When we realize how differently the announcements of death and violence are treated when they come from Western Europe instead of the Middle East and Africa, how do we respond to our world's brokenness?
How do we respond to the pain and violence in Colorado and in California? How do we separate the vileness and the harm caused by certain members of all religions from the fundamental blessings of those same religions?
How do we preach the Good News: the time of Jubilee when all wrongs are set right, when prisoners are released, the sick are healed, the hungry fed and the homeless sheltered when we can walk down the street and meet people without a home and going hungry living in our own community?
How do we not give in to the pain and anger and hopelessness we face? How do we learn not to lash out at the closest target, and instead work to confront the underlying causes?
Job calls out of his fear and his pain and his anger, calls out to God and demands an answer for all his pain. God tells him that the answers are beyond what he can comprehend.
Jesus calls out on the cross, begging to know why God has abandoned him, and there is no answer at the time.
If that were all the answer we had, if Good Friday was the end of the story, Christianity would be the story of Nihilism.
Instead, we have a promise. Easter is 6 days away now. The cross is not the end of the story, but the turning point, the crisis hour resolved only by the promise of the empty tomb.
The empty tomb tells us that pain has its end, that despair does not win. That something else: love, and faith, and hope and something still more powerful behind all three, lies ahead of us and calls us to keep going.
I don't know what to say, in the face of so much pain. I don't know, except that love is pulling me further, and that I will not give in to despair and hatred.