Dear St. Lukers,
As we move toward this Sunday and the celebration of Pentecost, I find myself vacillating between two disciplines, openness and lament. I recognize these aren’t disciplines we talk about and yet worship, prayer, fasting and the other ordinances I attend to cause me to also recognize the intentionality of the Holy Spirit trying to shape me in lament to prepare me to be open to where God is leading me.
Lament is an ancient practice we can read in Scriptures. Lament is the passionate expression of grief or sorrow we read through the psalmist writings, we hear Jesus quote when he cries out on the cross “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” This week the death toll from COVID-19 reached 100,000 in the United States. 100,000 lives, names, stories lost in a short time with little space or ability to publicly lament and grieve for families and friends. Think of it this way, we read 44 names last November on All Saints Sunday; just consider the names that many churches will lift up this coming year. I grieve and lament to not just rush past the pain and fear, but take account and offer it all to the God I trust.
I grieve and lament that in spite of my desire to “get back open,” the world will not be the same. I can try to pretend, or again, ignore the reality, but there are now possibilities of new thinking. I lament, the way we used to do worship. I lament and grieve the loss of the way we used to experience theater. I lament as I read data that says the riskiest thing is to sing in groups or have congregational singing in small spaces. I lament I don’t have the answer when people say, “how long.” I lament I won’t see hundreds of children or youth crowded into one space singing and worshipping in the foreseeable future. Lament is not about living in fear. Lament makes me face what is real in my world and life and forces me to give it back to God in order for God to restore my hope in something new...