May 27, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, Jesus acknowledges the difficulty of living a Christian life in a hostile world, especially without his physical presence to lead the disciples.
He knows that his friends are anguished at the thought of being separated from him. He compares their heartbreak to the pain of a mother in labor. The comparison is a perfect one because labor pains yield a gift that washes away the memory of suffering:
… when she has given birth to a child,John 16:21
she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
that a child has been born into the world.
Jesus tries to comfort his followers with this analogy, but he doesn’t deny the sorrow they are experiencing. Jesus knows that separation from what we dearly love can be a crushing experience. He knows that change often carries unwanted loss.
Our lives are braided into this cycle of labor, birth, love, loss, sorrow and joy. Jesus assures us that if we live this cycle in faith and hope, all things return to him in glory:
But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,John 16:22
and no one will take your joy away from you.
Poetry: Braid Your Hair With His – Mark Heathcote
God - has many names,
but ‘Love' is the one that counts
most aptly ‘Love' … ‘Love'
‘Just Love' only, one word
one name like ‘God' isn't it?
God - has so many names
each acts as a veil
but ‘Love' is, ‘Love' only.
So braid your hair with His
embrace, lock fingers with His.
His is a tree twining roots
His is the first branch you perch on
His is trees-bough at your centre
your hearts bead is a locket of amber
the tree's name is Love.
At those times in our lives when we more feel the absence of God than the presence, remembering the endurance and bravery of others may help us. Although it’s not a religious song, this melody kept playing itself in my heart as I read today’s Gospel. It opened my spirit to a very comforting prayer time.
Music: We’ll Meet Again – Dame Vera Lynn
Dame Vera Margaret Lynn Welch, CH,DBD, OStJ, was a British singer of traditional popular music, songwriter and actress, whose musical recordings and performances were enormously popular during World War II. She died in 2020 at the age of 103.
She is widely known as “the Forces Sweetheart” and gave outdoor concerts for the troops in Egypt, India and Burma during the war. The songs most associated with her are “We’ll Meet Again”, “The White Cliffs of Dover”, “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”, and “There’ll Always Be an England”.