Today’s church service was filled with more lament than a usual fifth Sunday in lent. This week the state of
I have my public speaking students report on the news in every class. I forgot to do it in my later class this Friday, so we put it at the end of class instead, and as my student listed these killings among death and war elsewhere in the world, we all felt stunned and saddened, even though our eagerness for spring break made the class open with a sense of excitement. We generally have time for discussion after the news report, and a student remarked that she feels guilty for the way she reacts to these tragedies briefly, and then returns almost immediately to her life – homework, friends, etc. We talked about that difficulty – we all want to be compassionate, sincere people, but if you truly felt every tragedy in the news, you would be paralyzed with sadness. I wish that I could have told them about the gifts of the Christian tradition – that it gives us a way to respond. We lament and hope. We cry out from the depths, like the Psalm 130 writer, but we also say, with him, “My soul waits for the Lord, in his word I hope. My soul waits more than watchmen wait for the morning.” This pattern of tears, prayers and hope are built into the life of the church. Lent is when we wait and pray. But sadness is always around us, demanding that we remember to wait for the Lord.