The Incredible, Resurrecting Compassion of God
I recently officiated at a memorial service for a woman not much older than me, who passed away suddenly. Weeks before, her sister had given birth to a little girl, and I got to watch as she gently cared for her baby with tears of sorrow streaming down her cheeks.
After the service, one of the family members saw the sister with the baby, and softly said to me in passing, "It's the circle of life."
I recently read something fascinating about how in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for "compassion" has its roots in the word rachuwm, which means "womb."
Interestingly, in the Scriptures the word rachuwm is most often used to describe God's "emotions" toward human beings---particularly in moments when they find themselves lost, oppressed and feeling abandoned by God.
Take Isaiah 49:15 for example:
"Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.The reason why this resonated with me so much is because I connected it immediately to how from a Christian perspective, history is the constant unfolding of God's suffering and resurrection.
Creation contains this same rhythm---it's embedded in everything, including us.
And for those of us who have eyes to see we can see signs of hope, new birth and new life in the midst of all the suffering we see around us.
If we are patient and not afraid to wait, we can also see resurrection in the things we left for dead, and even in our own souls when they have flagged, and fallen.
May you have this vision for new birth and new life. May you see the evidence of God's compassion all around you, in you and through you. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.