Lenten Devotional – Palm Sun, April 14th

Ivan Cooley Thumbnail

By: Ivan Cooley

Psalm 31: 9-16

Reflection—v. 9 ‘my eye wastes away with grief, my soul and body also’

They say, ‘You’re not going to starve in Atlanta.’ Now, that’s true. But the key to that is you have to be at a certain place at a certain time in order to eat. If you’re not there, you’ve missed out. Sometimes these places are scattered out. And a person may be so tired that they may not even feel like walking just to get something to eat. People end up just laying around in the park trying to get rest. But there’s this element of death—of absolute poverty—that is really depressing. It’s depressing when you have to see people in a line with a hundred other folks just to get a sandwich and a bag of chips. It’s depressing when you see grown folks in a country this rich actually running in order to line up for a little food. Where’s the dignity in that? But people feel like they have to do that—because the meek, the poor, have been ignored so long that a lot of us feel like if we don’t move fast, then once again we’ll be left out. For me, I figure I’m going to feel pain either way—physical pain because I’m hungry or mental anguish because I’m having to go through that and having to see everybody else go through that. Most of the time I chose the physical pain, because I’d tell myself, ‘Well, I’m not going to starve to death; I’ll eat tomorrow.’ I said that so many times that I really wasn’t even eating. I was wasting away physically. Everyday I would walk these streets and actually grieve for people who were still living, because I’m seeing people who are sleeping right on the sidewalk in the cold. I would see people in the rain—sleeping under wet blankets. I saw people walking with clothes that they’ve had on so long that the clothes are actually rotting on their body. This is 2019–and I’m looking at some of my brothers and sisters and saying to myself, ‘He looks like a runaway slave.’ I think we’re actually grieving. You can feel like a part of yourself is lost because there’s nowhere you fit in. We grieve for the person that could have been—that should be but that we just can’t get to.

Prayer: Keep us, O Lord, so that you people don’t just waste away.