Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Monday, June 22, 2020

God feels our pain

I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross. The only God I believe in is the one Nietzsche ridiculed as “God on the Cross.” In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?

                                         John Stott



it is in time of dis-ease and distress

that we learn the importance of empathy


we learn its power when we receive it

and we learn its power when we give it


for it is when people are bound together by empathy

by shared pain

shared hopelessness

and even shared joy


that intimacy happens

and healing happens


without empathy these is a space

sometimes a great, abysmal space

between ourselves and others


if we cannot feel with them

we cannot connect with them

and we cannot respond to them in appropriate way


empathy is not sympathy

It is not ”Oh you poor dear”

It is “That must really hurt!”


It is not given from above, but is given from alongside


With empathy we enter into the experience of the other

we don’t protect, or hide, or observe from a distance

we participate,


which is why the incarnation was an amazing act of empathy

on the part of God

and why the cross is the illustration of just how completely

God is willing to enter into our pain


Any God who is willing to enter so completely into the depravity of this world

is a God I can trust, and turn to


this is a God who is with me, in my sheltering

this is a God who is with me in my anger over the carelessness of others

this is a God who can help me deal with the lack of empathy I see from people who,

          above all others, should have empathy (our religious leaders and political leaders)

this is a God who can embrace my pain

and my sorrow


and the pain and sorrow of the world

the pain and sorrow of those who have lost loved ones to this virus

Almost 350,000 people have die, 100,000 here in America

(think of the sheer amount of grief that (should) represents, how many fathers, mothers, children, friends are grieving those who have died)


I can believe the God of the cross is grieving too

and holding those grievers close

that this God is not immune to our pain


but is close, as close as our pain

and it is this closeness itself

this intimacy offered by an infinite God

that heals


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