I never noticed those words in the Psalter. But how fitting they are during this time of isolation, grief, and sorrow as we continue to live (and die) during this “2020 Pandemic.” Years from now, how will be look back at this time? Will there be a name for this era in the history books?
One thing is for sure. We are each grieving in our own ways. For many, the loss has been visceral – a loved one no longer with us. For others, the grieving is not related to the pandemic as death always makes an appearance whether it is expected or unexpected. At the moment, gone are the times to hug family and friends, gather to share stories and remembrances, be present to hold hands in silence with unspoken words passing between us.
Social media is beginning to fill up with pictures of adults (young and old) dressed in cap and gown as is typical this time of year. Graduation signs are popping up on front lawns. What is not typical is that these photos are being taken on front porches, around dining room tables, and in Zoom chats. These milestones in a person’s life still need to be marked. What are ways a faith community can lift up graduates (and their families)?
There have been plenty of articles written in the past few weeks about this topic. The Fuller Youth Institute recently posted “Reinventing Graduation: 3 ways to honor milestones in the midst of pandemic” by Hannah Lee Sandoval, offering some interesting ways to connect with graduates after school is out. And in this article from Vox, five soon-to-be graduates share how they are feeling and adapting amidst the grief and loss.
In a previous post, Ideas & Resources for Lament and Thanksgiving, I shared a curated list of prayers (laments and thanksgivings) along with processes to help (youth especially) express their grief in what many have called “being robbed” of a rite of passage due to social distancing and quarantine due to COVID-19.
“We are also beginning to grieve for the passing of a way of life, because however much we want things to go ‘back to normal’, we also recognise at some level that many of them never will. ”
The above quote is from This Too Shall Pass: Mourning Collective Loss in the Time of COVID-19, a document put together by The Collective Psychology Project, a collaborative inquiry into how psychology and politics can be brought together in new, creative ways that help us to become a “Larger Us” instead of a “Them-and-Us.” Within this document they share how to embrace and live out the following eight lessons in fuller detail. In summary, they offer this:
Months ago when I agreed to preach on this Sunday as part of our Fall 2013 Stewardship season I had looked at today’s readings and told myself, easy – these readings really speak to how we respond to God in word and action. Perfect! What if we were all like the Pharisee and tithed as he was expected to do? Certainly our annual financial campaign would produce many more pledges and less anxiety for those who prepare our budget. But the Pharisee is proud in his giving as he approaches God. He doesn’t seem to be called to grow closer to God and neighbor. Isn’t this what stewardship is really about? Ah, that’s the tack I’ll take.
But I’m not as in control of things like I think I am. Perhaps like the Pharisee. My dad, and perhaps God, had something else in mind for me to share with you today. As many of you know, my dad passed away a week ago Friday, having struggled with a number of health issues in recent months. The last two weeks of his life were not pleasant, and my life was filled with frustration with how he was cared for and why his quality of life and dignity had been compromised. But my faith gave me strength; I knew God was with me as well as Cliff, despite the unfairness of it all. I wasn’t alone. Plus I had John and Mary Grace. And the prayers of many of you. Thank you. Continue reading Approaching God→