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Don’t kill the mockingbird

by davesandel on April 24th, 2016

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Don’t kill the mockingbird

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Revelation 21

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.”

When Tom Robinson had been escorted (found guilty) from the court, and while Atticus Finch gathered up his papers, the Negroes in the upstairs gallery reserved for them rose in silence. Reverend Sykes, who brought Atticus’ children up to the gallery with him so they could see, said to Scout, “Miss Jean-Louise! Stand up, Miss Jean-Louise. Your father’s passin’.”

In that moment I burst into tears. I think I was weeping for the ageless awful sins of us in the world, our intended and unintended carelessness with each other’s dignity and our desperate self-protection, which closes our eyes and our mouths while we crave the false comfort that comes with walking away. So few of us walk toward. Still, I am so thankful for them.

Gregory Peck found the heroism in Atticus Finch, quietly stated it with his acting and won the 1963 Oscar. But Atticus could not save anyone, or protect anyone. His children were attacked and nearly killed, and Tom Robinson was shot attempting escape. So Atticus drove to Tom’s family’s home, where they sat outside talking of the coming appeal. “There will be no appeal,” he said. “Tom’s dead.” And Tom’s mother just fell down to the floor and cried.

No more death! No mourning or wailing or pain, no more. Revelation is the story of “already, but not yet.” We still die and feel great pain, we wail. “I’m sorry for your loss.” Let me sit down with you while you thrash about and scream your sadness out of you. Already in this, even this, we throw ourselves into the arms of God. He holds us there with all his strength. And his hands are touching our face, and he is wiping every tear away from all our eyes.

So we go on to the next day. And there is a great “not yet” that breathes all through the day. Friday’s here, but Sunday’s coming.

I have no doubt that Reverend Sykes took Tom’s mother in his arms, in his spiritual arms, and preached the hope of Jesus to her and to her family and to her friends. And they wept storms of tears, and they knew God’s touch and God’s healing.

Evil is nothing more than the absence of goodness. It has no original source or meaning or substance. The “old order” never existed except as an absence of what is Real and True. Jesus came to break the old lie and rescue us all.

Need a reminder? Stand up, Miss Jean-Louise! Your father’s passin’.

Lord, in our weakness you are strong. We can trust you to protect the core of our being and save us for yourself. We need not fear evil, because your good has never left us, and your love has never washed away. We are safe with you. You are what makes us whole.

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