You must be alone
before you can leave it,
or it will crush you
like a black, heavy rock.
You must drive into
the hollow of its face,
under the ledges
it projects against you.
Feel its cold granite
pressed to your grain.
it will allow your turning
to rest your back
within its curve.
you will be free to leave it,
walking lightly once again
on yielding earth.
When you return, it will be freely,
on a pilgrimage,
to touch the name you carved once
with the anguish of your heart.
Music: Seeking Serenity – Nicholas Gunn
Today, in Mercy, we join Mary and the disciples as they deal with Christ’s death. No doubt, the range of emotions among them was as great as it would be among any group or family losing someone they dearly loved.
They had entered, with heart-wrenching drama, into a period of bereavement over the loss of Jesus. Doubt, hope, loss, fear, sadness and remembered joy vied for each of their hearts. They comforted one another and tried to understand each other’s handling of their terrible shared bereavement.
They did just what we all do as families, friends and communities when our beloved dies.
But ultimately, our particular bereavement belongs to us alone, woven from the many experiences we have had with the person who has died. These are personal and indescribable, as is the character of our pain and loss.
Do not be afraid of your bereavement. It is a gift of love.
Holy Saturday, like bereavement, is a time of infrangible silence. No matter how many “whys” we throw heavenward, no answer comes. It is a time to test what Love has meant to us and, even as it seems to leave us, how it will live in us.
As we pray today with the bereaved Mother and disciples, let us fold all our bereavements into their love. We already know the joyful end to the story, so let us pray today with honesty but also with unconquerable hope that we will live and love again.
Separately, I will send two poems today that I hope may help with your prayer.
Music: Farewell – Michael Hoppé
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Today, in Mercy, both Paul and Jesus give a farewell discourse. They are both saying goodbye to their friends and disciples as their ministry draws to a close.
Such conversations are charged with emotion – love, hope, gratitude, sadness and loss interplay with one another in a poignant turmoil.
We may have known such times when moving on from a job or neighborhood; leaving school or work to begin something new. We may have held the hand of a loved one as they prepared for death, assuring each other of our love and thanks. Whatever the cause, there will be empty chairs in our lives where once there were beloved friends and family. Even happy times such as weddings and distant job opportunities can hold the nugget of loss for us and those we love
We can learn from Jesus and Paul in today’s readings how to say goodbye. A faithful, committed presence to our lives, our responsibilities, and our loved ones will sustain us when time or circumstance calls for change – even the ultimate change of dying.
Music: How to Say Goodbye – Michael W. Smith