Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene. Matthew 2:13-23
Yesterday was the anniversary of 911. Soon we will mark the first anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook. Before those moments, and since, we have been rocked as a nation by violence towards the innocent. Mass school shootings, the Aurora shootings, the bombing at the Boston marathon.....the list seems endless. All angry people, feeling tricked, misused and fully justified strike out for attention or a statement and leave families rent asunder, communities devastated and our hearts on the ground. And we talk of war and military strikes, as if justified, all the while knowing innocents will be in harm's way. Rachel still weeps for her children.
At the very beginning of the wondrous story of the coming of Christ into the world, we find anger, violence and massive loss. From the opening chapters of the greatest love story between God and the people we are slapped with the reality of human anger, jealousy and greed. The child of God was not safe in the homeland. Jesus and his family became aliens seeking asylum in a foreign land. Not only were they homeless at his birth but could not return until the child was school age and then only with great caution. What love suffers for us? God invites us today to remember these moments of terror, gear and injustice. God will always find a way to bring us back home.
Today I ask God to help me be patient and trusting in the terror of dislocation and loss. May we all be moved to prayer in times of sorrow and loss, so that we might open our hearts to new roads and new possibilities. May we trust that God knows our tears and our losses and is finding us a way home, today.