Sunday, January 27, 2013


The cantata at today's Bach Cantata Vespers was "Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir (Lord, as you will, so let it be done with me, BWV 73)." The cantata text was heavy on acceptance. The homilist talked about trust. I didn't hear it all; at these services, the middle of the choir is not the best place for hearing what is said in the pulpit. But the sermon opening had a lot about the importance of trust in human relationships at a macro level (politicians and voters) and the micro (families, spouses).

I listened to the preacher's list of examples and my thoughts wandered off into my own life. I thought of the many ways in which people have broken trust with me, and I with them. And I looked at the people around me wondering how many had been unfaithful to a spouse--in a Lutheran church choir, maybe not so many. But how many had broken a confidence, had responded with rage when someone needed mercy? How many hurts have I inflicted on others without knowing, or knowing and not caring?

These are not happy thoughts. Trust breaking all around you is like a jackhammer breaking up the ground beneath your feet.

Infants come out of the womb ready to trust the arms that hold them and don't let them fall. We respond to their needs and teach them to trust us so they learn what it feels like to be safe and calm. Can we trust God this way? My spirit, sorely sagging on this icy Sunday, longs for infantile comfort. But my many pictures of who God is get in the way. Omnipotent, the one who wills all things. The one who controls what happens to me. The one who chides and chastens and challenges. The one I seem to fight and wrestle with, who won't let me have I want. Why would I trust this God, the God of everything is "for your own good"?

I think I've given God too many jobs. I think I've also confused God with notions of fate or fatalism, confused "Whatever God ordains" (from the Lutheran chorale title) with whatever--whatever happens.

I didn't hear the homilist well enough this afternoon--well, I'll be honest, didn't listen hard enough to know exactly where he ended up, but I think I remember hearing the words "God is faithful." And faith is trust, and I don't know, maybe there's some kind of complete circle there. The God I trust in is the one who holds me like an infant, who, unlike an unfaithful spouse or a fair weather friend, does not break trust with my need to be loved, whose love for me is a light that brightens all things.

No comments: