My therapist starts each session by asking the same question: “Where do I find you?” The first time I went to see her, the question annoyed me. If everything had been normal, I would have said: “Right here, in your room, sitting on a couch.” Not this time. The question cut deep. I couldn’t be flippant; words failed me. She unlocked my words by posing a series of further probes: “Tell me what you are feeling.” “Tell me what you are thinking about.” “Tell me what you see.”
Read the text for today again. This time imagine the writer sitting speechless on a couch in God’s counseling room. God asks, “Where do I find you?” and the writer starts by unpacking what he sees, his feelings, his fears, and his doubts. The author apportions blame, tries to find the answers for himself, and makes every effort to make sense of this chaotic situation. God does not interrupt. God does not argue with his assumptions, his accusations, or his logic. God listens patiently and empathically, allowing the writer to let go of the words that had been locked up deep inside.
Healing does not come immediately, and it definitely does not come with concrete answers or by satisfying the difficult questions that we ask. It does not manifest in our eloquence or lack thereof. Healing starts when we know that we are received with empathy and compassion, when we are heard even when our words do not make sense (either to others or to ourselves).
Yesterday’s challenge of putting words on paper or paint on canvas or playing a musical instrument may have felt overwhelming. Where do I start? Start with one word, or one stroke of the brush, or one note. This is where the writer of our scripture started, by humbly stating what he saw in front of him: a lonely city on top of a hill. And then the rest followed.
Lord, you ask me, “Where do I find you?” I know you ask as one who knows the answer already. I pray for courage to utter at least one word, paint one stroke, play one note. Amen.
Lamentations opens with a description of the plight of the people of Judah, the southern kingdom. The people have been taken into exile as part of God’s judgment for their idolatry. The psalmist struggles to sing the songs of the Lord. In fact, those who overthrew Jerusalem have forced them to sing for their amusement, so the joy is gone. The psalmist prays that one day God will repay the invaders. In Second Timothy, Paul praises God for Timothy’s faith and for the legacy of faith that comes through his family. He charges him to preach boldly and without hesitation the gospel of Christ. In the Gospel reading, Jesus challenges the disciples to show greater faith and to understand that we are all servants in God’s kingdom.
Read Lamentations 1:1-6. How do you allow your imperfections and failings to transform you?
Read Psalm 137. How do you remember your spiritual traditions and sacred places? How do you look for God’s work in change?
Read 2 Timothy 1:1-14. What spiritual practices help you to “guard the good treasure entrusted to you”?
Read Luke 17:5-10. How might a posture of cyclical servanthood to and with all creation transform or increase your faith?
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