Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery (ELW 334, st. 2)
2 We remember truth once spoken,
love passed on through act and word;
ev’ry person lost and broken
wears the body of our Lord,
wears the body of our Lord.
Words and music by Marty Haugen
© 1984, GIA Publications, Inc.
Reprinted under OneLicense.net #A730924
Growing up, my favorite story in the Bible was the “Lost Son” from Luke 15. What was always implied in my reading was that an individual (the youngest son) had wronged another individual (the father) and eventually received forgiveness from that same individual. Then, in seminary, my Kenyan classmate blew my mind with another interpretation: “That story is not about an individual, but a community losing a child and having him restored back into the community with dignity and grace.” So now I ask “Who are the children of God that our community is losing too often?”—to hunger, gang violence, suicide, police brutality, white supremacist extremism, and other tragedies. “Rugged individualism” is forcing us to forget members of the body and that if “one part suffers, every part suffers.” Because of the interconnectedness of God’s family, we somehow find ourselves relegated to both “the loser” and “the lost.” And on the broken wandering of that confession we find ourselves encountered by a God who runs to us, embraces us, and throws a party of forgiveness, justice, and peace for the entire human family.
The right hand of God is writing in our land,
Writing with power and with love.
Our conflicts and our fears, our triumphs and our tears
Are recorded by the right hand of God.
The right hand of God is pointing in our land,
Pointing the way we must go.
So clouded is the way, so easily we stray,
But we’re guided by the right hand of God.
The right hand of God is striking in our land,
Striking out at envy, hate, and greed.
Our selfishness and lust, our pride and unjust
Are destroyed by the right hand of God.
—from “An African Prayer Book” by Desmond Tutu