In a blog posting entitled "and yet love happens," Orthodox Christian Molly Sabourin offers brief but profound reflections on giving up the need to feel obliged to explain or justify her Christian faith in the face of death and suffering, and on giving up attempts to make sense of injustice with pat answers. When Molly writes about coming to a place where one can "make peace with the Mystery that is God," I am reminded of the calm joy that exudes from the apostle Paul's letter to the Philipians, a letter written in the midst of imprisonment, failure, suffering, and the shadow of possible death. I continue to long for that joy and peace in my own life as a baptized Christian and as a priest serving during a time of great change, upheaval, and division within Anglicanism.
I feel no obligation anymore to explain God, or why I believe in the Resurrection of Christ despite the universality of death and suffering. I won't pretend that suicide bombers, plane crashes and children with cancer don't make my insides crawl with horror. The truth is I have no real answers to give, and that any I concocted would be speculative at best. Being confronted by tragedy is like a bucket of ice water to the head. Death and suffering, the way they breathe all hot and heavy down my neck, won't let me sleep, or forget that I am vulnerable - just as vulnerable as any and everyone else - to having my comfortable little existence shred to pieces in a heartbeat.
I feel no responsibility to whitewash the pain of being broken with glossy euphemisms proposing that sense can be made of injustice. Thirteen years ago I surrendered my opinions and dependence on reason to the ancient teachings of the Church - I retired my time consuming (wasting?) quest to figure things out (Who, what, where, when, why is God, exactly?) and learned through the sacraments to make peace with the Mystery that is God and His mercy, the Holy Trinity, salvation. And now I'm no longer in the mood for a debate about the peripherals, not when the end is all around me and my only real source of courage is, mysteriously enough, self-denial. No, I will not try and appease your anger, your disillusionment, your doubts, but God help me weep with you when you weep and love you, serve you, just exactly as you are, lest the monsters, pride and despair, sink their teeth into my soul.