Trouble and Woe


This world is full of trouble and woe

This world is full of trouble and woe

All I see is trouble, everywhere I go

I’m gonna sing the trouble that I know…

War in Syria and Ukraine, child abductions in Nigeria, the murder of Coptic Christians, millions of refugees in the middle east, missing women on the Highway of Tears, 17 police offers in Abbostford charged with corruption, two children dying in a house fire, whole countries on the verge of bankruptcy…this is a sampling of the newsfeeds I checked as I am writing this. Not a lot of good news out there, mostly trouble and woe.

So how do the events of Good Friday speak into this reality? When I imagine that day, 2000 years ago, with Jesus having been flogged, ridiculed and crucified – what must his friends and family been thinking? The Oxford Dictionary defines “woe” as “affliction, bitter grief”. I can imagine that this is exactly what they were feeling. Even Jesus, when he cried out – My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” was crying out his bitter grief.

the 6th Station of the Cross at the Italian Chapel, South Ronaldsay, Orkney, Scotland

the 6th Station of the Cross at the Italian Chapel, South Ronaldsay, Orkney, Scotland

Yet the events of Holy Week are often called the most important in the Christian calendar. We believe that Jesus’ life, suffering, death and resurrection made it possible for all of creation to experience their Creator God in a new way. Has that happened?

Gonna dig deep down into my heart

Gonna dig deep down into my heart

Gonna dig deep down, gonna do my part

I’m gonna sing, sing a brand new start…

As I searched the web for news headlines, there was one that leapt out at me. A brother of two of the Coptic Christians beheaded by ISIS thanked the terrorists for allowing the brothers’ testimony of faith in Jesus to be shown in the video of their murder. In an article in Christianity Today, Beshir Kamel is quoted as saying, Since the Roman era, Christians have been martyred and have learned to handle everything that comes our way. This only makes us stronger in our faith because the Bible told us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us.

That stopped me in my tracks. Beshir Kamel has learned how to “sing a brand new start”. He has embodied Jesus’ words on the cross: Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. This is Good Friday speaking into the bitter grief, the anguish, the trouble and woe of this world.

singer/songwriter Ruth Moody

singer/songwriter Ruth Moody

The lyrics to this song, by Canadian singer/songwriter Ruth Moody (of the Wailin’ Jennys) are straightforward and simple but when applied to this scenario, it’s clear that this song is not simplistic. It really does take digging – deep, deep digging into our hearts to be able to forgive, love and bless our enemies but unless we take this approach to the trouble and woe in our lives, we’ll never be able to imagine anything else.

4 responses to “Trouble and Woe

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