A few weeks ago my Centering Prayer group discussed Richard Rohr’s book Everything Belongs, specifically the conclusion, “A Contemplative Seeing of the Doctrine of the Cross”. The news was filled with ongoing reports of continued violence and death – Nice, Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, Dallas, Baton Rouge, Kabul – to name only a few of the too many horrific attacks that occurred in July only.
Our facilitator read the following from Rohr’s book, asking us what we thought.
“God is to be found in all things, even and most especially in the painful, tragic, and sinful things, exactly where we do not want to look for God (my emphasis)” (177).
Yes. Where is God in violent acts of murder, revenge, retribution, retaliation, hate? Our group did not have an answer. We scratched our heads. We looked at one another. Uhhh? Rohr’s statement gave us much food for thought, reflection, soul-searching, and ongoing wrestling with that which cannot be comprehended. God is there in the midst of all that hate too. How can that be?
Christians are taught this is true and at the same time when you turn on the news each day and there has been another heinous act of violence, you begin to wonder. Tell me Creator, where are you in the midst of this act of destruction and death?
Rohr continues with the following, “The crucifixion of the God-Man is at the same moment the worst thing in human history and the best thing in human history” (177-178). This is our Christian hope. Pain, suffering, hate, destruction, death – they are not the end of the story.
Across the globe, humanity is living in and with pain and suffering, grieving within a well of unfathomable sorrow. And God, Creator, the Source of all Being is there. I am grappling with this idea, especially Rohr’s statement “God is…exactly where we do not want to look for God”.
(image courtesy of “The Narrow Road” Blogs by Shane Kastler)