Thanksgiving, Mourning, and a Birthday

Today is a day of mixed emotions. For the US, it is Thanksgiving, which we are celebrating here in the Philippines by inviting a bunch of the singles over for dinner tonight. We are thankful for all of the blessings that God has shown us through the year.

I have the additional joy of having my birthday fall on Thanksgiving this year and my family is making sure that I feel loved and appreciated. I am doubly blessed.

Yet, with the rest of the Philippines, we mourn today. Today was declared a day of mourning here because of the massacre that occurred in the neighboring province of Maguindanao on Monday. 57 people were slaughtered consisting of a large number of women, about 17 journalists, and some lawyers as they went as a group to file the candidacy of a local politician for office. Before they arrived at the office they were reportedly surrounded by about 100 gunman and executed. Many think that the opposing candidate is behind the massacre.

Politics has usually been violent here in the Philippines and we are just entering the election season. Yet this event has exceeded all prior events in terms of sheer outrageous brutality.

So, I mourn today as I have all week. I also look forward to that day when Christ comes in all of his glory to set all things right. Those who have carried out such atrocities will answer for their crimes. God will not allow the injustices of this life to remain unaccounted for forever.

Is that such a strange thought? To some Christians, such talk probably sounds odd and out of place. I don't think that it is unbiblical though. Take so many of the Psalms, for instance, where God's people long for God's justice.

The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. (Psalm 9:16)

O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. (Psalm 10:17-18)

It would take pages to list all of the passages wherein God's people long for the justice of God to come and make things right. Longing for God's justice is part of the Christian's hope.

So I find that mourning is a part of what it means to be a Christian living in today's world (c.f. Romans 8:18-25) because mourning is an expression of hope. We hope for God's kingdom and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33) and we mourn in hope that the justice which we don't see today, we will see someday.

Therefore, for me, mourning is part of a well rounded trust and hope in the God who promises to bring all of history to a perfect completion.

But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:13)

Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)