When I was six or seven I used to cry all the time. I cried numerous times a day. I remember my sister promising to give me a dime each day (a lot of money at that time)–but the hitch was that one penny would be deducted from that dime for each time I cried that day. I almost never made any money because I cried so much. My dad was a widower, and he started dating someone. When this woman came over my father and my sisters warned me that I was supposed to try and control myself and not cry. It was clear we were all trying to make a Good Impression.
How comfortable are you with tears? Your own? Others? Some people never or hardly ever cry. Other people cry very easily. This week we are talking about our community’s calling to “weep with those who weep”. Sometimes that will literally mean sitting there sharing a box of Kleenexes with people as they cry. But in other instances it will just mean sitting with someone who is in agony, someone whose face is a stone, who is frozen with grief. Sometimes it will mean sitting with someone who is angry, they are directing their agony outwards.
At a number of places in scripture, the text says that Jesus has compassion. The Greek word for compassion “splagchnizomia” literally means to be moved in your bowels, or your guts. Before people understood the role of the brain, emotions were believed to be located in your gut. Being compassionate involves feeling something viscerally, feeling it in your core. Are we willing to weep with those who weep? What’s stopping us? Come and think more about this with me on Sunday.
This week’s prayer: God, help me to have a gut feeling about someone today.