While I’m certain that every one of us has experienced some joy and light in the last year, I think that it is important that we acknowledge the pain and loss that the last year has brought. One year ago today was a Sunday and we were gathered in our church, worshipping together like “normal.” In Mission, we had a training after church. A parishioner took a call during the meeting from her daughter who is a physician in NYC. The woman returned to share that her daughter was panic stricken about a virus that was spreading fast and warned that things might be changing quickly. Little did I know how true that warning would end up being. The wave of change came fast and turned all of our lives upside down.
I’m sure that each of us have opinions about how things have been handled over the last 12 months. We all have many (probably legitimate) thoughts about how loss could have been mitigated. The reality is unchanged. We have lost a lot and that is worth acknowledging and mourning. Lost jobs, lost hope, lost lives, lost community, etc. We have been tried in many ways.
As with all suffering, there are two things that we must remind ourselves and cling to. Firstly, let’s remember that our God is a suffering God. He hasn’t hovered over the last year and looked down with pity at us sad sacks. Whether you’ve perceived it or not, Jesus has been with you. In his earthly life, Jesus suffered greatly. He knows your pain and grieves your losses with you.
Secondly, as we look to Easter, let’s remember that our God redeems. He is able to take things that are far gone and makes them beautiful again. We hold our loss up to God and ask him to redeem it somehow, to bring a good end to our suffering. For all people who have put their faith in Jesus, he promises that redemption. Romans 6:5 tell us that if we have been united with him in his death, then we will most certainly be united with him in his resurrection. As we continue to walk through the season of Lent, a season of reflection and repentance, we look forward to Easter and the promise of redemption.
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