Promise, Reality and Crying Out

by Brian Walsh

The promise was to have heirs who would embody the covenantal hope.
The reality was generations of a dysfunctional family,
replete with deceit, rape, jealousy and fratricide.

The promise was for a homeland of covenantal freedom.
The reality was generations of imperial slavery,
replete with forced labour, impossible brick quotas and infanticide.

Things weren’t working out for this people of promise.

And so, in the face of empire they “groaned under their slavery.”
Kind of like all of creation groaning for the birth of the new earth.

And so, in the face of empire they “cried out.”
Kind of like crying “Abba Father” longing for liberation from slavery.

There is something about groaning and crying out
that is at the very heart of covenantal life.
Somehow, the Spirit is deeply active in such groaning and crying out.

And somehow, it is this groaning and crying out
that cuts through the numbness of the empire,
and even breaks into the very heart of God.

People who don’t groan and cry out,
are people without hope.
They don’t groan or cry out
because there is no point to it.

In biblical faith we meet a piety that
refuses numbness,
refuses acquiescence,
refuses to forget.

It is such anguished piety that launched the revolution
that is at the heart of the biblical story.
It is such anguished piety that reaches the ears of God,
and launches the covenant God into political action.

At Wine Before Breakfast this week,
we join our voices with the ancient Hebrews
and “cry out” in anguish and in radical hope.

Maybe you need to join that crying out chorus.
Maybe you have some friends who need to be in the choir as well.

*Image by Flickr user fxtreme. CC by 2.0

Brian Walsh
Brian is an activist theologian, a retired CRC campus minister, the founder of the Wine Before Breakfast community, and farms with Sylvia Keesmaat at Russet House Farm.He engages issues of theology and culture, and has written a couple of books you might want to check out. His most recent offering is cowritten with Sylvia Keesmaat and entitled Romans Disarmed: Resisting Empire, Demanding Justice.

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