I am working on my conversational Spanish skills, with the hope of traveling some day with my wife and do one of the things on her bucket list, which is to see the monarch butterfly migration in Mexico. And one of the phrases I came across is what I learned in High School (so long ago) is, “Que hora es?” Meaning,”what time is it?”
Reading again through the book of Ecclesiastes, the writer reminds us that there is a season for everything and a time for every matter under heaven. So, Que hora es? I could write a whole article on how it is time to plan the future in the church, how it is time to try some new ideas after covid, how it is time to push into our communities like John Wesley did that sparked a resurgence of faith throughout England and into the new world.
It would even be good to talk about how it is time in our region for each church to assess its ministry and discover how we are fulfilling our “why” to the community in which God has called us to serve. All important things, but not today. For today, a family lays a child to rest in Uvalde Texas. The thought of, “it will never happen in my unknown sleepy little community” has happened again. Kids excited for summer vacation, teachers ready to close up classrooms, parents who just an hour earlier were celebrating their kids accomplishments find their world forever changed.
Que hora es? Reading again in Ecclesiastes, I am reminded it is a time to weep, it is a time to mourn, it is a time to speak, and yes a time to hate. Like the scripture quoted after the massacre in Bethlehem when Herod had the children killed, it was said that “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled because they are no more.” How do you comfort a parent when they have lost the most precious God given gift they were asked to love, raise, and protect? We weep and mourn with them, listening to their stories, hearing their anger, and holding them before the Lord when they cannot make sense of faith or even the strength to pray.
It is a time to hate. That is to hate the evil that continues to persist in our world where violence erupts as people take their anger and pain out in destructive ways. To where bullying continues to push people to the brink of acting out their wounded emotions. To where people are judged by the “color of their skin and not the conduct of their character.” Hating those things which broke God’s own heart of not hearing the cry of the need, lying tongues, ignoring injustice, and becoming complacent.
And it is a time to speak. To speak with our letters to politicians and our voice in voting booths. To be the voice for a ten year old who is pleading for someone to come through the door and save them. To speak for the loner, the mentally ill, the abused, the victim, the brokenhearted, the one who endures racism, and those things that are often behind such violence. And not to sound simplistic, but it is time for the church to speak. What do the kids in your community need this summer that your church can address the need? What kid could use a mentor that you will be? How do you look at the people in your community as your neighbor and love them as Christ called us to love. What will you do to share the blessings you have with someone who will not ever be able to pay you back? How will you as a United Methodist keep Wesley’s three simple rules of: doing all the good you can, do no harm, and stay in love with God. I am where I am today not because I just wandered into Church, but someone came speaking verbally and through actions that led me to follow Christ. And following is what brings the passion to do what we pray each week, “thy kingdom come and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The thing is in the scripture where Rachel refuses to be comforted, comes from Jeremiah as the prophet is mourning all that Isarel has lost under the attack of the Assyrains, who have killed and taken away their children. But right after this Jeremiah speaks of a hope. That a messiah is coming who will heal the brokenhearted, save the captives, redeem the nation, and restore their relationship with God. We have that hope in Jesus Christ who has poured his spirit into us and our churches.
So, Que hora es? It is a time to mourn with parents whose hearts are more than wounded. It is time to hate evil and move from complacency to the movement of the Holy Spirit in us. It is time to speak the hope of Christ not inside our churches, but in the streets, the neighborhoods, the grocery stores, the ball fields, at camps, across fences, and wherever God is calling us. And let us speak in words but even more in the actions of Jesus Christ.
What time is it for you?