The only gift I have to offer this week is my sorrow for Paris, Beirut, Syria, Iraq, and all of us. So I offer the Psalms I go to when I am in the midst of sorrow and pain. May your hearts be comforted by the words of the psalmist and may you find solace knowing others cry with you.
Psalm 36:1-4 (MSG) A David Psalm 1-4 The God-rebel tunes in to sedition—
all ears, eager to sin.
He has no regard for God,
he stands insolent before him.
He has smooth-talked himself
That his evil
will never be noticed.
Words gutter from his mouth,
Can’t remember when he
did anything decent.
Every time he goes to bed,
he fathers another evil plot.
When he’s loose on the streets,
He plays with fire
and doesn’t care who gets burned.
Psalm 42 (NRSV)
1As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you, O God. 2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and behold the face of God? 3My tears have been my food day and night,
while people say to me continually,
“Where is your God?” 4These things I remember, as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng, and led them in procession
to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
a multitude keeping festival. 5Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help 6and my God. My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan
and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. 7Deep calls to deep at the thunder of your cataracts;
all your waves and your billows have gone over me. 8By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. 9I say to God, my rock, “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
because the enemy oppresses me?” 10As with a deadly wound in my body,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually, “Where is your God?” 11Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.
I have been trying to think about what to say about the Umpqua shootings but my heart is breaking and my mind won’t process this. So I am asking you for your prayer this week to write letters to your legislators about gun legislation, talk to your neighbors about keeping safe, and get involved in your community and/or church youth programs. Talk kids and get to know your own children and the children they play with. Keep the kids involved with family and community and help them find safe ways to release anger and frustration. If you need a gun for hunting then talk to every member of the family about gun safety and keep your guns in a secure gun safe when you aren’t using them. I know that isn’t much but if all of us become more aware and involved in the efforts to regulate guns in a responsible manner than maybe, just maybe we won’t be speechless anymore.
all will be well
and all will be well
and every manner of thing
will be well
Julian of Norwich, late 14th century mystic
The last couple of weeks have been a bit troubling for me. In one week I heard of the death of three of my friends and then there was a three day trip to Houston to visit my best friends and of course there has been loss of planes, and ferries, and the overwhelming loss in the Oso WA Mudslide. In the midst of this chaos I am writing the first draft of my ordination paper. Needless to say I haven’t bored, although some days I would have liked to be. What I do have is a deep sorrow and fatigue, which are following me around like two sad little puppy dogs.
This morning as I sat down to meditate and flipped open a small book with the writings of a number of medieval mystics I landed on Julian of Norwich’s “all will be well.” I so needed to read those words, because right now nothing feels very well. I grieve the loss of my friends, which interferes with my thought processes for my paper. I want to ask God “what happened? Everything was going along smoothly now it’s all upside down, can’t we please go back to the beginning and start over?” Well God’s answer was “all will be well.”
Yes what seems dark today is only the time before the dawn and new light and new hope. My friends still live in memory, I will finish my paper and God is still there sitting next to me saying “all will be well.”
The following music video of Julian of Norwich’s All Will Be Well by pastor Meg Barnhouse touched me deeply today and says so much of what I am feeling and asks the same questions I have been asking. But Julian of Norwich trusted that God knows the answers and if God said, “all will be well,” then I too will take heart and trust that “all will be well.”