Week of March 17


Set me as a seal upon your heart;
Tattoo me on your arm;
For love is stronger than death,
Fierce enough to overcome the grave.
Waves of water cannot extinguish love,
No disaster can drown it,
No amount of wealth can replace it.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7

(paraphrase by Rev. Jack Perkins Davidson)

Dear Friends,

It is hard to be human.

We hear the news from New Zealand of the atrocious mass shooting at a mosque, a gunman killing scores of faithful Muslims as they attend afternoon prayer. Our hearts break at this devastation, and over the hatred, fear and violence that caused it. We hear news of an airline crash in Ethiopia, killing all those aboard the flight, followed on the heels of the crash in Indonesia. Our hearts break for all those lives lost, and for the families shattered by grief. And too, each of us carries our own burdens of grief, loss, loneliness, trauma, and suffering.

It is hard to be human.

Yet, even as we know deep in our bones—on the molecular level-- that we “are dust, and to dust we will return”, we are also promised that love is stronger than death: that the love we have for another one cannot be conquered or overcome, and that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

This week Carter and I will be engaged in a sermon dialogue focused on the cross. Titled “Cross Talk,” we will attempt to speak to what the cross means to us and why the cross, however we understand it, stands at the heart of Christianity.  As we move deeper into Lent, and sit with the reality of a world that at once holds suffering and joy, I believe the cross can be a place where we discover the God who knows first-hand how hard it is to be human, the God who meets us in our own suffering, and promises that the final word is not death, but love.

 Yours on the Lenten journey,