God’s Tears

At the very end of his book God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time, Desmond Tutu writes

If you were in heaven now, you would notice the tears in God’s eyes. The tears streaming down God’s face as God looked on us and saw the awful things that we, God’s children, are doing to each other. God cries and cries. And then you might see the smile that was breaking over God’s face like sunshine through the rain, almost like a rainbow. You would see God smiling because God was looking on you and noting how deeply concerned you are. And the smile might break out into a laugh as God said, “You have vindicated Me. I had been asking Myself, ‘Whatever got into Me to create that lot?’ And when I see you, yes, you, ” God says, “you are beginning to wipe the tears from My eyes because you care. Because you care and you have come to learn that you are not your brother’s or sister’s keeper. You are your brother’s brother and your sister’s sister.” And God says, “I have no one except you. Thank you for vindicating me.”  (p 127-128)

I wonder too, sometimes, whatever was God thinking when God created us and gave us such responsibility and power over each other and over the world that God created? I read the news of the past few weeks and I ask, God “What were you thinking?” Friends struggle with the illnesses of loved ones, and the too soon death of loved ones and I ask, “What were you thinking?” I caught a glimpse of someone in church today and they have aged and declined so rapidly in the past few months that I almost didn’t recognize them and I ask, “What were you thinking?” That is a question without an answer. More gun violence, more refugees seeking shelter, more attempts to create peace through bombing.

O God what were you thinking?

It is Advent, again. The time in the Christian year when I feel the disconnect between what is and God’s dream most acutely. A congregation of broken people gather to sing,

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

God’s broken people have been waiting a very long time.

Redemption seems a long way off. Dear God, why not ransom captive humanity now? We do mourn in lonely exile here, waiting for the Son of God to appear.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace

We wait and sing, and pray and cry. But God also seems to be waiting.

Perhaps God is waiting for us.

Waiting for us to care. To be our brother’s brother and our sister’s sister. Waiting for us to work toward a world where no one cries, not even God.

Archbishop Tutu gives us quite an amazing image, God crying. Quite an amazing image, you and I wiping the tears from God’s eyes.

How can we, such broken people, begin?

O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.

All I know is that we wait and sing and pray and cry. And then we start. We just begin. You and I do the next thing. And slowly God’s tears are dried. And our tears are dried.

O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

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