“God of seeing and resurrection, give us the us the strength to mourn and the courage to hope.” (SALT Lenten Project)
On this penultimate week of Lent, the SALT reflection emphasizes, from Matisse, the color purple, a more familiar color that the Church has connected to Lent. In liturgical settings the color is a reminder of penitence, sorrow, loss and darkness. Surely those emotions and locations are part and parcel of our human experience, which I attend to mindfully during my Lenten journey.
I am aware of how some of my Lenten palette needs to include the sad and grieving, the losses that are never-ending, the state of the world–both relationally and systemically. I am leaving space this week to lament the painful, frail and broken pieces of the worlds in which I live.
- I grieve for the created world–its choked oceans, its volatile air currents, its vanishing species.
- I grieve for the peoples of this world who suffer–in war, in natural disaster, in oppression, in tyranny.
- I grieve for my native land so torn apart by hostility, mistrust, misinformation, hatred and cruelty.
- I grieve for the fragility of communities of faith who are in states of liminality after the advent of COVID-19, wondering how to reimagine who and how they are to be Church.
- My heart aches for the suffering ones I know personally–the mourning ones, the hurting ones, the frustrated ones, the lonely ones, the ones who have fallen into the Slough of Despond that has crept insistently into our collective life.
- And I mourn the ways in which I have and done that which is not loving, not helpful, not kind, not compassionate–missed opportunities, ignored signals and neglected openings.
The Light that shine in this important season of Lament is that, grieving is not the last word. Sacred text tells us that “we may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” (T hess. 4:13.), The theologian Walter Brueggemann has written that the sacred practice of Lament prepares us for the Hope that is to come; for this in the Christian community, the promise of Resurrection, Life after death. It is a clearing out, a cleansing, a truth telling, that paves the way to be surprised by Joy. I am walking gently, gingerly, honestly through this darkness, trusting that there is Light to come on the other side.