by Terrance Hawkins
Monsoon flooding in Bangladesh & Nepal, mudslides in Sierra Leone, record wild-fires in the western U.S., earthquake in Mexico, record hurricanes devastating Texas, the Caribbean Islands, & headed towards Florida…..
How are we to respond to the ever-increasing volume of creation’s groan?
I believe we must join the groan.
Though it seems strange to the domesticated & urban 21st century mind, ancient peoples understood that there are times when natural upheavals are connected to the spiritual, social, & moral upheavals of humanity. The land, the seas, the winds, the skies respond in desperation to our idolatry, immorality, injustice, apathy, & evil. It seems that creation is signaling something to us in this moment. It is echoing the atmosphere that we have created. We have bought wholesale into a way of being & of ordering our societies that “demands an endless flow of sacrifices from the poor & from creation.” We are addicted to the very things that are killing us & our neighbors.
Creation violently convulses as it waits on pins & needles in anticipation of the liberation that will come as God’s true daughters & sons emerge with glorious freedom. These children of God are a people who seek conformity to Jesus no matter the physical, financial, or socio-political costs. They are a people full of light & love. A people who wage peace instead of war. A people who have rejected the worlds definition of greatness. A people who have come to see that lying, lusting, & lording over others for “sick-cess” & pleasure is a betrayal of their own humanity & a denial of the truth of God’s Kin(g)dom.
This radical way of living is a work of The Spirit. It is a supernatural yielding of the self & a repudiation of the ego. (It is the meek who will inherit the earth.) One does not enter this narrow way without experiencing that painful revolution of the soul called repentance. We cannot skip over the discomfort of lament & magically land there. One must join the groans of creation. One must be well-acquainted with heart-longings for the Presence of God, hunger-pains for righteousness, & an unyielding thirst for (restorative) justice. One must drink in the tears of a God co-suffers with humanity. One must “co-lament” with this God over the suffering, brokenness, & lostness of our world. For lamenting the world that currently exists empowers us to dream & work for the world that could be-a world that is coming.
Without question, there will be times when words will seem inaccessible & our tongues fail us. Be not dismayed:
“…..The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)