Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Prophet of Advent: 3rd Tuesday-B

Read Isaiah 35:1-6a

At breakfast this morning, Bonnie asked me
if I would have commuted Tookie Williams'
sentence. (He was the co-founder of the Crips
street gang, and was executed last night after
being convicted of murdering four people).

I told her that if I had been governor of California,
I would have commuted his death sentence to life
in prison without parole. Of course, if I were
governor of any state, I would commute the death
sentence of any inmate on death row.

And, if I could, I would commute the sentence
Teddy lives under, of always being mentally
retarded, always being different from most
people (especially those he feels closest to),
always having to live in places other than where
he would choose.

And, if I could, I would commute the sentence
that Teddy, and my friend Joanne, and David's
sister, and thousands and thousands of others
live under of always wondering if that tummy
ache, that twinge, that ache in the bone means
that the cancer has returned.

But I can't. As much as I wish, and want, and
would if I could, it won't happen.

But Isaiah tells us that one day it will happen,
because God can do it, and will do it. Sin,
death, the dysfunctions and disabilities and
differences that plague so many people, will
be taken away from them. Not only will the
blind see, but cancer survivors won't have
to lay awake worrying. Nor only will the deaf
hear, but children will leap out of wheelchairs
and begin dancing. Not only will the speechless
be able to sing, but people who were once retarded
will win the Nobel Prize for mathematics.

Of course, the frustration is that God will not do
it until God is ready. But the promise is there.
So in the meantime, all I can do, all any of us
can do is

'Be strong, do not fear!'


It is never easy to be strong, Compassionate God,
when it is our children, our spouses, our friends,
ourselves who are ill, who suffer, who die. So,
strengthen us with your grace, and send your Spirit
to take away our fears, even as we await that day
when the only strength we need is to lift our
loved ones up and swing them up in the air. Amen.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

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