I grieve for all that has been lost and ruined as I bear witness to this time of fear and anger and division.
I grieve for repetitive sin, for the stubbornness of heart, stiffening of thought, and tight-seamed souls that are too apprehensive to open to the possibility of transformation. I grieve for hearts that cannot or will not change. I grieve for deliberate choices and unfounded convictions reached in denial, perpetuating injustice for the sake of self-righteousness, or self-satisfaction, or perhaps just complicated, demanding fear.
I grieve for the frailty of truth, for language suspended in spin, for words redefined for ambiguous allegiances. I grieve for alternative facts, for the bewilderment of reason and reality, for the perplexity of veracity. I grieve for those who are drowning in lies that they have accepted as truth, and for those who heap untruth upon untruth until we can no longer discern fact from dubious declarations. I grieve that science has become the enemy, that people choose sickness and death rather than trust medical practice, that truth is considered relative.
I grieve for the hopelessness that leads us to build our foundations on the sand of unreliable emotions, for our eagerness to follow opinions that tickle our ears and gratify our fear and anger, until the possibility of accepting truth is submerged in disparaging certainty.
I grieve over the rhetoric that tempts us to place tribe over justice, greatness over mercy, and self-interest over love for neighbor.
I grieve for leaders who refuse to lead, and for power that preserves itself through division.
I grieve for justice deferred and justice denied. I grieve for all those who live in fear or oppression while justice is forsworn by power. For continuing, deliberate disenfranchisement and marginalization. For the devastation of unnecessary death, after death, after death. And for those who deny the perpetuation of injustice from their hidden chasms of doubt and suspicion.
I grieve for refugee children, and for parents who risk utterly and unreservedly for them. I grieve for gnawing, dehumanizing hunger in a world where overabundant food is destroyed. I grieve for unrelenting poverty, for unrelenting greed, and for the ever-growing chasm between them. I grieve for overworked nurses, overpaid stars, and underpaid teachers.
I grieve for the brokenness that keeps us from passing Reconciliation and Peace, distracted by suspicion and accusation of friend and brother. For the inability to love our enemies and even our neighbors, for the lies that turn friends into enemies, and for the self-righteousness that names it a virtue to divide and judge.
I grieve for all the things that could change, but don’t, for the lack of courage or vision or will. I grieve for the vision of a flourishing people, against the flagrant rigidity of this reality.
This grief is necessary. It flows from opening my eyes and bearing witness, which I know in my bones must be done. I cannot turn away or pretend that all will be well if we just elect the correct people, or wave the right flags, or proclaim how great we are, or go back to an idealistic age that never actually existed.
But the grief is overwhelming, a burden too heavy to bear. So I stumble once again to the foot of the cross and lay this burden of grief on the One Who cares for me, and for all of us, shattered and alienated as we are. And the burden becomes bearable, although the grief remains, reminding me of the fragility of my own capacity, of my need to depend on the God who bears our burdens. Then I return to bearing witness, recognizing that there is indeed a time for grief, and we are in that time.