The tears have been sitting there on the edge for a few days now. Today those tears finally came forth. Tears that tell me that this is not over. Tears that tell me, tell us that it’s all about grief; anticipatory grief. I’m no stranger to grief. I’ve grieved a lot these last two years, but this grief, this grief is different. It’s a grief that comes due to canceled trips, graduations, and so much more.
I’m grieving that the beginning of a new call doesn’t look the way it’s supposed to. I’m grieving my friends and how lonely it is to be in my new house, in a new community. I’m grieving that mom is in a nursing home and I can’t go visit her. I’m grieving that Holy Week and Easter will look drastically different this year. And I know that I’m not alone. All of us are grieving in our own ways.
Grief is a human response. It’s how we all respond to the death of things. Grief often paralyzes us and hits us in unexpected ways. This grief came at us full throttle. It hit us as life around us was completely halted, completely stilled. But with that forced stillness, fear and anxiety still take hold as the world around us is topsy turvy. The not knowing is hard. There are days I think I’m ok but the next day I am simply hanging on. And I’m sure you all have found yourselves there too.
Jesus himself was as much human as he was divine. Jesus himself wept. Jesus promises that he will never leave us or forsake us. Yet even with that promise, I find myself shouting out,”How long, oh Lord, will you forget me ever?” How long will this last? When will I wake up and not think about this pandemic?
It’s the cry of Psalm 13; a cry that the world is crying out In the midst of this pandemic. As a ship pulls into a harbor in NYC, as more positive cases and even deaths are reported daily, and as we settle in for another month of quarantine, that cry becomes louder and louder. A cry that will still lead us to the Last Supper, to the cross, and finally to the empty tomb.
I need to sit at the table with Jesus and have him declare “I give you a new commandment: love one another.” Love this year means social distancing and staying home. It means not gathering as a community around the table.
I need to stand at the foot of the cross and sing, “Where you there when they crucified my Lord? Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.” During this uncertain time, there are days the news is too much, too heavy. So much so that if I keep watching, my anxiety will continue to climb and I might tremble in fear.
But most of all, I need to come to the empty tomb and find it empty. I need to be reminded again and again and again that death has been defeated. “Easter says you can put death in the grave, but it won’t stay there (Clarence W Hall).” I need to be reminded that our God is all powerful and will always be triumphant over the cross and the grave.
I may wake tomorrow and the tears may find themselves sitting on the edge again. Or I may wake to a new renewed hope. Whatever the day brings, I know that God’s grace is enough. God loved us so much God sent Gods one and only Son into the world for each and everyone of us.
And tonight, that love, the resurrection promise is enough!