Hymn of Faith

images-of-jesus-with-children-1Lord, the Lord Almighty,

May those who hope in you

Not be disgraced because of me;

God of Israel,

May those who seek you

Not be put to shame because of me.

Psalm 69:6

This passage is a prayer for each of us to pray daily.  Not only clergy, but every person who professes to live into a call to uphold the grace and mercy of God should live this as a mantra.  It’s not always easy.  I am a pastor, but I am also a human.  I sin.  I make mistakes.  I fall flat on my face and occasionally need someone to pick me up and hand me a tissue for my bloody nose.  I am neither called to be nor capable of being perfect.  But at the very least, I have to act and speak so that my tainted ways do not spill over onto someone else and prevent him or her from experiencing the love of God.

Although all who have been called to the vocation of ordained ministry know this (or at least should), sometimes there are failures that have tragic consequences.  A young girl that I know had the faith in a loving and merciful God forcibly ripped from her thirteen year-old soul.  She believed that God protected her and kept her safe.  She had faith that God watched over her and kept the forces of evil and destroyers of innocence at bay.  She trusted that those who spoke for and represented the Almighty would use their God-given authority to heal and forgive and cast out demons to teach her and treat her well.  She was horribly mistaken.

After this young girl of African descent was repeatedly raped by her pastor, she was left with two seeds growing with in her: a child in her womb, and a welling anger at a God who could allow such things to happen.  The very person who was the hands and feet of the healer Himself, tore a wound in her mind, body, and spirit that may never be mended.  She teeters between justifiable anger in an all-powerful deity who chose to sit back and watch her be violated and the disbelief that such a God could possibly exist.  The rug has been ripped out from under her and she is left with the wind knocked out of her, gasping for air, feeling that everything she has believed in is a lie; and right now, nobody can convince her otherwise.

In their Artist’s Song, the band Lost in the Trees pined, “Sing out your hymn of faith ’cause I have none – your song is my fortress.”  For now, this is all we can do for this young lady and all who have had their hope in life taken from them.  For all those who believed that there really was a light in the darkness and that life isn’t just a cruel joke, but were left crying in the dark while those outside laughed in derision; for all of those who looked up to the ambassadors of a loving God just to be left feeling that God looked the other way while they robbed them of their faith like a thief in the night, we sing for them.  We sing our hymn of faith because they have none and hope that our words will become their fortress.

This wasn’t the first time, by far, nor will it be the last time that one of God’s children are harmed by the very ones that God called to defend them.  It would be better to have a millstone hung from their neck . . . .  While we can set up boundaries and a safe haven to prevent such things from happening in the future, we can’t be vigilantes for those who have already been wronged.  As even now my fists are clenched and I want to make this man pay for taking what wasn’t his and hope that the legal system does its job, I am reminded of my own ability to cause hurt for those around me.  To whom much is given, much is expected.

As our voices float into the night sky and fall like gentle rain upon those innocents who thirst for healing, let us keep on singing our hymn of faith for them: May those who seek you not be put to shame because of me.

Amen and Amen.

2 Responses to “Hymn of Faith”

  1. Thanks for sharing that. I know a couple who feel much the same as they have two children born with disabilities. They are and continue to be good people but have lost their faith and angry at how God could allow these afflictions to their poor innocent children. I hurt inside don’t have any answers for them. All I can do is hold on and sing that hymn of of faith that God will reveal one day the answer. As a parent I find myself constantly falling short but with God’s help and my intentionality to learn from my misgivings there is hope that I am more like him everyday. One day at a time

  2. In this week’s liturgy you quote Stephen Levine : “If there is a single definition of healing, it is to enter with mercy and awareness those pains (mental and physical) from which we have withdrawn in judgment and dismay.”

    May this most elusive definition somehow bring some measure of healing to this young lady, so that over time her precious life may be mended; in body, mind, heart and soul.

    May our hymns of faith, thoughts of love, and prayers of hope somehow buoy her spirit … and by reflection our own.

    For we are one.


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