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  • Writer's picturePhil



“I was hungry,

and you formed a discussion group to discuss my hunger.

I was imprisoned

and you quietly crept off and prayed for my release.

I was naked

and you debated the morality of my appearance.

I was sick

and you knelt and thanked God for you health.

I was homeless

and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.

You seem so holy, so close to God.

But I am still very hungry, and lonely and cold.”

Iona Community

"I received a phone call one day informing me that a five-year-old boy in our neighbourhood had run out into the street after a ball, had been hit by a car and killed. I didn’t know the boy; his family was not part of the congregation. But several children from the congregation had known him and played with him. Their mothers attended the funeral, and some of them told me about it afterwards.

In the eulogy, the family’s clergyman had said, “This is not a time for sadness or tears. This is a time for rejoicing, because Michael has been taken out of this world of sin and pain with his innocent soul unstained by sin. He is in a happier land now where there is no pain and no grief; let us thank God for that.”

I heard that, and I felt so bad for Michael’s parents. Not only had they lost a child without warning, they were being told by the representative of their religion that they should rejoice in the fact that he had died so young and so innocent, and I couldn’t believe that they felt much like rejoicing at that moment.

They felt hurt, they felt angry, they felt that God had been unfair to them, and here was God’s spokesman telling them to be grateful to God for what had happened.

Could it be that God does not cause the bad things that happen to us? Could it be that He doesn’t decide which families shall give birth to a handicapped child, that He did not single out Michael to be hit by a car, or another by a degenerative disease, but rather that He stands ready to help them and us cope with our tragedies if we could only get beyond the feelings of guilt and anger that separate us from Him? Could it be that “How could God do this to me?” is really the wrong question for us to ask?" - Rabbi Harold Kushner - "When Bad Things Happen to Good People"

Glory to you, Incarnate God,

you tabernacle among us, sharing our flesh and our ways.

Living among us, you taste our hunger,

you share our sufferings, you inhabit our longings.

Learning to know us, you touch our faces,you speak our names, you eat and drink at our tables.

Longing to empower us, you reveal God among us,nearer than breathing, closer than touching,yet stranger than knowing, fiercer than loving.

Glory to you, Incarnate God!

Glory to you, Sustainer God,

you kindle, protect and encourage life in all things, you inflame the world with the longing for freedom and justice, never letting us rest in plenty or despair in poverty. You inspire prophets, sages and saints of all times and places to discern and interpret your mysterious ways.

As Spirit, you empower the Church to live out the life of the gospel,

blowing within and beyond the boundaries we set for your working.

As enduring presence, you keep alive in the hearts of the faithful the memory of God ‘s saving actions and the hope of the fulfilment of God’s purposes.

Glory to you, Sustainer God!

Nicola Slee

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