What you might be feeling…
I think it’s grief.
At least that’s what I’ve noticed about myself. I’m grieving. It doesn’t feel like the grief I expect when a loved one dies. But it’s grief, I’m growing more sure of it every day.
I’ve seen some powerful acknowledgment of this grief. Recently I read a beautiful one by a South Elkhorn Church and choir member and professor at Transylvania University, Jeremy Paden.
Maybe you’ve noticed it, too, even if you have yet to give it a name…
Last week I preached on Lazarus for the Digital Liturgy. And something struck me later on, after I finished writing and recording the sermon.
Jesus wept. He grieved with those who were grieving. And that part of me that was grieving finally stepped forward. Right there in the middle of great loss, with every intention of creating new life, Jesus nevertheless paused and grieved.
Christ didn’t rush past grief. And neither should we. Hope and grief are not opposites. They might even need each other.
So, perhaps, like me, you need to pause with Jesus and grieve. Jesus opens his arms and heart to grieve with us.That what it means for him to be with us in the midst of this.
I’m grieving not seeing you on Sunday.
I’m grieving all the expectations and anticipations for this spring season that have been radically changed.
I’m grieving my newborn son growing big without his extended family holding him.
I’m grieving the mini-marathon I’m not running (or training for, for that matter).
I’m grieving the trips we weren’t able to take: visiting family, a mission trip to Puerto Rico.
I’m grieving not being able to see church members who are isolated in the hospital or in hospice care.
I’m grieving lost jobs with those who are laid off or furloughed.
I’m grieving for my kids as they look out at their neighborhood friends and can’t invite them to play, jump, and run in the backyard.
I’m grieving the life I knew how to lead, one that brought me such meaning and joy, now entirely reconfigured and still reconfiguring.
I’m even experiencing anticipatory grief... the grief of knowing that there will be loved ones, church family, friends who will be impacted by sickness, maybe even death, as a result of this virus.
I’m grieving all this and so much more… I’m sure of it.
I still think there’s reason to hope; to hope in what we are learning together, to hope in what we are discovering about what really matters to us, to hope in new forms of community and connection that emerge in this time, to hope in the creative and resilient human spirit that God created in us, to hope in God’s strength to see us through this wild and uncertain time.
Hope matters. Our faith is driven by a hope secured in the person of Christ.
Even so, Christ also grieved. And grieving matters too.
Yes, I think the two need each other: hope and grief. Perhaps that’s why I need Holy Week in a whole new way this year–the sacred week of Christ’s life where hope and grief, love and sacrifice, death and grace… collide.
Grace & Peace,
PS – Did you read the latest update on in person worship and more? You can read that here. And take part in the Easter Digital Liturgy by recording a video of yourself declaring “He is risen, indeed!” Learn more here.
PPS – I’m so grateful we can continue to worship together each week. Palm Sunday’s digital liturgy is filled with South Elkhorn faces and voices–I can’t wait to share it with you soon. See the short teaser video here and below. And grab a palm branch or six from the church. Drive up to the main entrance and take one home for your own palm waving fun. Take a photo or video of you or your family waving palm branches and fill up social media with love and hope this Palm Sunday!
Worship each week with a digital liturgy: pause, pray, sing, reflect, and reconnect.
Digital liturgy is posted each weekend to South Elkhorn’s website and premiers on South Elkhorn’s Facebook page at 10:00AM on Sunday. You can also subscribe to the YouTube account where the videos go live.