Good morning all! I am dressed for church and ready to go! It is good to be home. 🙂
At McMinnville Cooperative Ministries we are continuing on in our theme through Lent, “temptations of the church.” The more I think about it the more I realize that the temptations of the church are our personal temptations as well. This morning we will be talking about the temptation to avoid suffering. When Mark and I wrote out this theme, I thought that this was a no brainer as a temptation of the church. How often do we talk about suffering? But this has been a hard one for me to process because I feel as though perhaps I am not really the best one to address it. Sure, I have had hard times but would I classify anything as suffering? I am a thirty something middle class white woman living a pretty pleasant part of the world with a lovely life…and yet, what I can tell you is that we don’t address suffering well. We, as people and as the church, want to fix it. We want to rid it right away instead of realizing how important it is to recognize suffering, admit it is there, and walk with each other through it.
In our suffering, we see our humanness. While in the midst of my pain, I may not be able to see the community surrounding and breaking down my isolation, it is happening and should happen. God does not cause suffering but God walks with us through it. I have found that one of the most pastoral things I can say to someone is “wow, that sucks.” Not…”God did this because….” or “it will all be just fine” or even “this must have happened because” but just to be with someone in the midst of the struggle. Can you sit with that today?
I am going to leave you with a video from one of my fav theologians who addresses pain and suffering in ways I find to be beautiful…