Thursday, June 01, 2006

School’s out. It is finished. For those of you who graduated, congrats, you don’t have to go back unless you want to. Take your relief and run with it. To those of you who are not finished but are on summer break, take your relief and run with it until August rolls around. And for those of you, those of us, not in school, not in a nine-month rotation, we remember those days and what it felt to say, I’m done. Last class today. Last final. This semester’s over.


We don’t get that kind of relief anymore. The fun summer vacation time, so we seek it elsewhere. Instead of “last class” we get to finish one project or sermon or business transaction before we start the next. Instead of “last final,” we finally get stable financially and can start paying off the credit card. Instead of “the semester’s over,” we at least get Monday off for Memorial day.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, it’s still the same. If it isn’t school, it’s work. If it isn’t boy problems, it’s a dysfunctional family. If it isn’t money, then it’s stress. If it isn’t spiritual lethargy, it’s emotional distance.

And we crave relief. All of us.

Those in Africa dying of AIDS crave relief. Those in Mexico without enough food crave relief. Those on the gulf who haven’t yet fixed their house after the hurricanes last year and who worry about what worse ones lie ahead this year crave relief. The young woman who hates the way she looks craves relief. The young man who just wants to find love craves relief. The business associate who wants to feel fulfilled in her job craves relief. The man who can’t get a job craves relief.

And anyone homeless and out in the heat today craves relief.

The needs are great and come arise in varied forms, but so does the relief.

When creation groans, so does the heavens and for once, we are all on level ground.

God lamented.
Jesus wept.
And so do we.

So do we.

So do we crave relief.

The good news is, relief is come. Relief has come through Jesus Christ and relief will continue with us.

The spirit of God who was present at creation and moved upon both Israelites and foreigners in the Hebrew scriptures came alive in Christ and now works through us.

Relief does not mean absence of pain, relief does not mean absence from hurt. It does not promise food on every table, a roof over every head and a heart never broken in any person’s life.

Relief means a God who moves with us and amongst us and who understands.

Relief means finding ourselves enabled and commissioned to bring relief to the world around us.

The presence of God who is in us will move through us as we minister to one another and to our world at large. Minister through kind words, reconciling actions, by feeding the hungry, loving the sick, housing the homeless, enabling the broken, visiting the imprisoned.

As Maurice Hulst said, we all need assistance, we all need to be sustained. Husband and wife, brother and sister, businessmen, homeless women, huge Catholic families, one parent families, all of us seek the rejuvenation that comes in relief.

And so find it, take it, claim it. Whether it is emotional health, a vacation from work, caring for your family, providing for those around you, standing confident that God is with you even when the world around you seems to be falling apart.

Find it. It is there. Relief is come. I am is I am and ever will be.

And so must we be for others.


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