There is my status update on Facebook from a few minutes ago:
It is Ash Wednesday for the Christian community. I think we should sit in ashes over the increasing violence in our world. The reign of death continues all around us.
Where is God? I am sure some are asking as news report document the violence around us.
The story of Ash Wednesday and its attendant Lenten season of 40 days of reflection provide an answer to this question. God is suffering with us. God has joined us in the violence and received the violence of humanity on the cross. The cross which marks the end of this season of reflection is a the cross of the suffering God.
Christianity is unique among world religions in its belief that God has entered human space and time and taken on human suffering to transform it into meaning and purpose in the cross. If we believe that suffering is meaningless we will soon devolve into Sartre's abyss of absurdity. Is it any wonder that suicide rates continue to rise in the western world? We have lost any belief in the meaning of suffering.
Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent remind us that God is a suffering God.
On this Ash Wednesday as people are senselessly killed, we join those dying that human suffering is not in vain. We weep, as God does, with those who weep.
Ron Friesen (c) 2015