Last week the news rolled in like waves of despair, everyday someone else had died. Friday morning I was getting ready for an all day meeting three hours away. I opened my phone to find some notifications about "Dallas". I turned on the morning news...
As I made my three hour drive through the plains, seeing little more than cows and corn, I was thinking hard about what I could possibly preach in this violent and broken world that would make any difference. A lament shared by many of my preacher friends this past weekend. I noticed in many places the road joined the sky, as heat gathered in reflective pools it reflected the sky. This made it appear as if I would drive into the great beyond in just a few miles for most of my ride. At one point I looked up in my rear view mirror and noticed the same thing was happening behind me. Optical illusion would make me believe that I was driving on a road floating in the sky. Merely in between places but in a real and tangible place (which roads generally are, in between places). There was something metaphorical about all that as I contemplated this violent, broken, hurting world and the promises of love and hope in the Gospel. There was something dare I say hopeful about the idea that one could drive off into the clouds. It wasn't so much that I wanted to escape from the pain of the world but I was reminded that this world is temporary; there is a better world that could exist if we would just fulfill the command to love. So there I drove between two different worlds... wondering, dreaming, lamenting, praying, remembering how tentative it all is.
Fast forward to Sunday morning when I sat on my bed editing my third sermon of the week amidst the pounding rain, swept into our windows by a howling wind, thunder shaking them in their panes. It was dark and heavy and hopeless. Then at 8 am on the dot like every other Sunday morning another church's bells rang out, calling people home. I do not know that there are words to explain what that was like but it brought me back to that same liminal space. I was again back in the in between, not past, not present, just somewhere in the middle.
In that in between space, twice this weekend I found what seems so intangible in the everyday: hope.