Stephanie Jaeger is pastor of Augustana Lutheran Church of Hyde Park in Chicago.
A few years ago, while wandering through the Old City of Jerusalem, I stumbled upon a spray-painted sign on the side of a small factory building. It called out in English: “We need peace.” It seemed to me like a modern-day cry of “hosanna” coming from the people of Jerusalem.
As the ballplayer struck out with two on and two out, the stadium rang with bitter boos. I confess that I booed along with the rest. How does a crowd turn from shouts of joy to cries of murder in such a short span?
I remember I stopped dead in my tracks. I had been walking along the flat, dark shale bed of the ravine behind my grandfather’s farmhouse in southern Indiana. There on the ground, still in perfect alignment, lay the skeleton of a cow that had wandered away one winter many years ago and had slipped and fallen into the ravine. The bones lay in precise order—the head bone connected to the neck bone, the neck bone connected to the back bone, and so on.
God calls us out of the metaphorical tombs in which we are buried: addiction, hopelessness, guilt. But I believe God also calls us out of the tangible tombs of entrenched poverty, poor education, and limited opportunity.