Today, I had some really hard news. A friend whose husband had beat all the odds with a terminal disease had a heart attack yesterday and died. When a mutual friend called to let me know, I wondered how we could be present for her when we cannot visit her or hug her or let her lean on us physically, emotionally, spiritually.
This news was on the heels of a note from the Bishop reminding clergy about the theology of why we cannot virtually celebrate Holy Communion and what we are to do should there be a request for a funeral, a wedding or any other public gathering at this time. As people of faith, how do we respond? How do we, as Paul writes in I Corinthians 12, rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep?
Sitting with these questions, I am drawn to the Psalm for Sunday. Known by the Latin name De Profundis, Psalm 130 is a cry that reflects our time and our physically distant lives.
Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life!
Master, hear my cry for help! Listen hard! Open your ears! Listen to my cries for mercy.
If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that’s why you’re worshiped.
I pray to God—my life a prayer—and wait for what God’ll say and do.
My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning,
waiting and watching till morning.
O Israel, wait and watch for God—with God’s arrival comes love,
with God’s arrival comes generous redemption.
No doubt about it—God’ll redeem Israel, buy back Israel from captivity to sin.
In these words, in the emotion of the psalmist, I find myself and I find my prayer. When it feels like the bottom has fallen out of my life, I know that God is present with love. When I cry for help, I know that God will arrive with generous redemption and unmerited grace. I know these things because I know you. Without touching, you touch my soul. In days of physical distancing, I know you are calling each other, checking in and offering words of comfort, gestures of faith and gifts of love. I know you are praying for those who cannot see loved ones and for those who worry about being forgotten. I know you are reaching out in your own ways sending cards, sharing food, texting emojis and emailing beautifully evocative meditations and poems to get us through.
As we wait and watch, as we check in and reach out, as we sing and pray, there is no doubt about it: God is with us, God connects us, God loves us.
“See” you on Sunday,