Sheila Cassidy continues her journey with those she calls “Good Friday People” by considering those without a future. In the light of the Ukraine Crisis, the plight of those fleeing or under such barbaric oppression brings such seeming uselessness into focus. She writes, “Perhaps that is the essence of this desert experience, the deep gut level understanding that we have here no abiding city, that we are sojourners in a land we did not make. The dying are like refugees, like any homeless people, rootless and insecure, vulnerable and afraid.
Jesus saw this insecurity as a condition for discipleship, for he told a man who wanted to follow him, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."
What did he mean here, I wonder, for earlier on he invited a prospective disciple to come home with him and see where he lived. Perhaps he was now at a much more dangerous and itinerant stage of his mission, moving quickly along the road and sleeping in a different bed each night lest the Pharisees lay hands on him.”
Later in this portion of her book, Sheila Cassidy quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “I believe that God can and will bring good out of evil, even out of the greatest evil. For that purpose he needs people who make the best use of everything. I believe that God will give us all the strength we need to resist in all times of distress. But he never gives it in advance, lest we rely on ourselves and not on him alone.”
The leper and the outcast stood
No future, place or livelihood
Decried by most, by others shunned,
Whilst by the crowd in silence stunned.
No hope, no aim within their power
Just darkened clouds their final hour
And in the travail of their souls
No future daylight they behold.
Yet light into their darkness cameo
Through touch and call of their own name.
For where no future could be see
Now brightness shines by your decree.
Lord of the past, of yesteryear,
Of present moment with its fears
Speak hope, speak joy, your healing power
Transform my darkness hour by hour.
© 2022 Paul Collings
Prayer by Shiela Cassidy
Lord of our troubled world:
We prayer for all who suffer,
for refugees and orphans,
for families disrupted by war.
We pray for church workers and ministers
for all who work for the afflicted,
especially your people in Ukraine.
Help us to work for justice,
without which we have no right to peace. Amen