Pastor's Pondering - July 12th, 2020
Dear friends -
I'm more and more aware these days of the depth of grief we're experiencing in Covid-19, what we ministers have come (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) to call, Covidtide. We made it through the first round of adjustments - cancelled travel plans, figured out how to do online classes, took up crafting, sorted through the garage, learned zoom, and managed to cope through multiple losses. But as this goes on, as the second round of vacations are cancelled, as more people face job loss, as the hero grocery store clerks are over the extra hours, as there are many question marks for what fall will look like, grief is showing up all over again. The grief itself might be tolerable, but it shows up with friends like shock, denial, bargaining, anger, and depression that can overwhelm us before we can move toward anything like acceptance and hope.
Which brings me to the spiritual practice of lament. Sometimes it's hard for us cope with these feelings, and I won't chance the armchair psychology of listing suggestions for helping - you can google coping mechanisms if you need to jog your memory on best practices under stress. But our faith offers more than just the reminder to exercise or attempt a more consistent sleep schedule. Our faith offers the option of lament, of crying out to God, of naming the losses. "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me for ever?" calls the Psalmist (Psalm 13). "Why do you sleep, O Lord?" (Psalm 44) "Have compassion on your servants!" (Psalm 90) Almost one third of the Psalms are considered Psalms of Lament, pointed ways the authors express grief at their circumstances and the feeling that God is distant or has left them to destruction, documenting grief with words.
Other faithful expressions of lament can be through art, playing or listening to music, prayer, tears. Our faith actually calls us to lament - sadness is not a sign of the weakness of our believe but of our faith that God listens, that God is present, that God is wanting to hear our cries, our need, and our hopes. We're all in different spots - if it's a good day for you, great. But if it's so so or not so good, maybe it's time to move toward your grief and faithfully express lament to our ever-present, ever-loving God.
Grace and peace,