It was only a pigeon. In the animal kingdom, pigeons are low on the hierarchy. But it was alive, and it was trapped inside the subway. I could hardly bear it. The pigeon was wandering around toward the entrance, where masses of people rush in to catch their trains during the busiest part of the morning. This bird was totally lost, pecking at the ground and clearly trapped. And there was nothing I could do to help. I tried cajoling “here little pigeon! here’s the way out!” And then my train came.
The last thing I saw out the window was that pigeon, trying to find a way out.
I felt hot tears form in my eyes, and the unspoken “why” was on my lips. Why pigeons trapped? Why refugees pouring over the border from a country. Over 23,000, my brother and sister-in-law tell me. Why? Why? Why? Why this broken world? I could hardly stand it.
Making my way to my office was no better as I stepped over more fractured pieces of our world. Homeless in alcoves, trash, mean-spirited people — sometimes it feels too much to bear.
I’ve been reading through the gospel of Matthew for my gospel readings. And there in Matthew 10 are the verses that shout out at me, begging me to trust, urging me to be faithful.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”*
But the ‘whys’ continue. Aren’t these refugees more valuable than sparrows? Are these refugees like the pigeon, trapped, low on the hierarchy of priorities in a world busy with other things?
The worst thing about this is feeling helpless in the face of so much need. My money is a clichéd drop in the bucket, and even as I feel for this situation right now, in an hour my mind and heart will be on something else — such is the fickle nature of my emotions.
But at the office it gets worse. Nine people, murdered while worshipping at a church, in Charleston, South Carolina. A 21-year-old suspect is now in custody. It was a vicious, heinous hate crime. “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go,” he is reported to have said. Are not these men and women more precious than sparrows? I feel sick with the horror of it.
A quote in the New Yorker deeply saddens me
“We periodically mourn the deaths of a group of Americans who die at the hands of another armed American. We periodically witness racial injustices that inspire anger in the streets. And sometimes we witness both. This is, quite simply, how we now live.”*
Where do I go with this?
Again, there is the Word calling me to truth, begging me to trust, showing me that despite all this, there are still 10,000 reasons to bless the Lord. And so I call to mind the Lord’s great mercies, and beg for more.
“Yet this I call to mind, because of the Lord’s great mercies, we are not consumed, Great is Your Faithfulness.”**
Readers: Today begins the month of Ramadan for Muslims across the world. There are several posts on Communicating Across Boundaries that may be of interest to you, but may I urge you to head to Deb Mills site and take a look at her excellent post: Ramadan-Much More than Fasting – A quick guide for the sake of your friends & co-workers.