This week brings with it an accumulation of hope and wonder, despair and chaos. We have entered into the fullness of summer, and with it, further changes to the ways we live and interact in life, in family, in work and in community. Many of us in this part of the world (East Coast Canada) are both hopeful and apprehensive of the ‘Atlantic Bubble’ and of entering Alert Level Two (NL). There are many challenges, many emotions and feelings, and much work and thought progressing.
In the midst of all this, there is great beauty within the world at this time. It seems as if so many parts of creation are reveling in the isolation of humanity. Fish and fowl, beast and bug, plant and tree are responding, and enabling us to see the breadth of creation and love of Creator.
In this there is both joy and sadness. I give thanks for the life and love that I witness; I lament and grieve for the pain and hardness of this time.
Into all this, the psalmist offers Psalm 13:
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
And my enemy will say, “I have prevailed;” my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
This psalm of lament strikes deeply in my heart today, for in the midst of this pandemic isolation I have been struggling to hold on to light and hope, and I have been considering the pain and the plethora of fear and anxiety, isolation and loss, which surrounds so many of us.
This lament is not without hope – for in it we hear the reminder of the steadfast love of the Holy One. This is what I need to be reminded of, as today I grieve the death of a longtime parishioner and faithful chorister who will sing no longer with us at the community of the Parish of the Ascension.
Over the years her faithfulness and joy in the presence of God have permeated so much of the life and witness of the Ascension in worship and in fellowship. I lament I cannot hold her hand, offer her a smile, or even sing with her.
The hope that we cling to is the presence and steadfast love of the Holy One, the Creator who offers us life in this beauteous creation, and offers us redemption and breath as we move and live in the hear and now.
The answer I believe to this lament that is offered in the psalms is the reality that we are not alone, and our life does not die with death; our life does not end in pandemic isolation. ‘weeping may come, but Joy comes with the dawn; though we cannot sing and touch and hold and express as we would wish, our hearts sing, our lives love, and our expression of thanks in life, in adversity, indeed even in death reflects the deep love and constant care that the Creator holds for us in creation.
I will sing tonight; I will sing youtube.com/watch?v=OCzRJ2HL1O0 in my own way, as I reflect upon the life and witness of a friend this day. I sing also for the death of our former way of life, the struggles of humanity and creation in the messiness of this time, and of the constant sustaining love of the Holy One for all humanity, all creation.