The Chilean Miners are, one by one, coming up from the darkness. They are no doubt rising up, seemingly resurrected. As I read across the blogosphere I cannot help but notice the powerful nature of this story. Indeed, to ignore this story might be to ignore your humanity. Yes, a movie and book deal are in the works, I'm sure. Yet, I don't think any person, film, or book could fully capture their experience. I'm not even going to try.
But, I will wonder aloud. I wonder if they asked, “Where’s God?” I wonder if in the 17 days before they were located they started asking that question. Most of us, throughout our daily lives, don't have to spend 17 days in a hole to ask that question. Seems like for many people of faith, that question is present. There are some that reassure themselves with strict belief, that might not account for the experiences throughout their lives. Yet, others, live in the silence of God, ever distant. Yet, somehow, in the distance they find a way to foster faith.
I have found we all approach theology differently. And, that’s okay. From my perspective there are three places we find ourselves living: The Death of Jesus, The Tomb, or the Resurrection.
Some of us live in the middle of the suffering and find our homes there. We have the gift to be present in the midst of suffering, to sit with, and cry with those around us. Others find themselves in the tomb, where death looms. Here a voice for liberation speaks out, boldly, and hopefully. Lastly, some live in the resurrection, where a proclamation of joy and life lives.
Me, I live where death looms and the shroud, when pulled away, reveals a broken body. There are no secrets, there is no wondering, just death and all his friends. Death is real, it is earthy, it is the connection we all have to one another. The tomb challenges me to connect with my earthiness, the inner-dwelling that is my emotions. To love is to prepare a table full of food and absent of preconditions. To love is to demonstrate hope and compassion for the stranger. To love is to become a witness and not a judge.
Yet, for a death to occur, to live in the tomb, you have to have a life. We are all on this bouncing ball, in the middle of God knows where, spinning, circling, hoping. Yet, we must live. Perhaps that's the challenge: to face down the realities of human suffering and not grow weary. At the same time, facing down the realities of suffering requires the humility not to jump to triumphalism. It requires the faith to be with the suffering, sit with the suffering, and listen to our own suffering.
People carry out social justice for a myriad of reasons. Some do it because that's what Jesus did, and others because in the resurrection they were called to go and do likewise. Me? I engage social justice because there are thousands of people that live in the silence of God. No, it's not the metaphysical or revelatory silence, but systematic silence. All around them are people that seem to be making it, but they aren't. It's not because they don't want to, but because we live in a world where humanity has been given responsibility, and we haven't done too well with it.
God hasn't left the scene. God hasn't left this world to go play hopscotch in the galaxy down the road. Rather, God is radically present, though not always speaking in a megaphone. God's presence is felt if we feed the hungry. God's presence will demonstrate itself if we live out the Kingdom of God. God has and will be present with humanity. It's the greatest joy, the greatest burden, and the greatest hope to bear the presence of God. But if we continually think that God has to rush in and save humanity, we're never going to improve the conditions.
We bear the presence of God. If we think like this, in humility, we might see that there's hope in this world. We might see that God has prepared a future for us, with us, through us. This world isn't going to change without committed work.
So, as Miners, tired and dirty, slowly come up to see the sun, to be resurrected, let us take note. Let us, the 'rest of the world' hear of their story, their commitment. All they had was each other, and thanks be to God, they have made it this far.
This is the prayer I pray,
"I see your creativity late into the night, for in the sky I am reminded that my life is small yet alive. I see you airports, in taxis, and on ships. I see you on beaches, on boardwalks, and in urban centers. I see you in the country, on farms, and in fairs. I see you in the artist hand, the welders grasp, and the mechanics care. I see you in a teachers passion, a ministers presence, and a firefighters fearlessness. I see in family, friends and foes. I see you in alleys, and in pews. I see you in color, diverse and varied. I see you outside of humankind's fences, and within them. You look limitless, boundless, and omni; yet bound and wrapped up and present. You are neither here nor there, yet here and there. Everywhere, you sustain. All in all. Amen." ~J.L. Carlton