We wake up this morning to hear the news from Minneapolis of Daunte Wright being shot by police, protests, the on-going George Floyd trial, I am so aware of the grief that hovers and hangs in the air. I am aware this grief is collective as a country and individual for each person reading this. Some of you are grieving the death of a close relative; some are mourning the passing of fellow church members whose lives we celebrated; some have anticipatory grief for those on hospice or in the hospital where hope is slipping away. Grief can leave us feeling raw. Grief can awaken emotions that had laid dormant for years, the pain we pushed down unable to process, and grief can leave us feeling, to quote the Spiritual, Precious Lord, "tired, weak, and worn." Grief can also leave us feeling powerless.
What can we do? What can we do to dismantle discrimination that exists and persists? What can we do to comfort those who weep and mourn? Bringing this to the personal, what can I do? I am taken by the words of Makoto Fujimura who writes about Jesus' tears in the face of Lazarus' death (John 11). Fujimura writes, "Jesus’ tears transformed Mary’s view of her Lord. Soaking the hardened ground of Bethany, Jesus’ tears commingled with hers. Jesus was not only a Savior but proved to be an intimate friend; the glory of God shone through such a deep friendship with the Son of Man"
Deep friendship opens space for each other to speak. I think about Cleopas from our Bible passage yesterday whose eyes were too blurry to see it was Jesus. My eyes are blurry today too. For the funerals this last week. For the saints of our church who have died and are on hospice care. For family members and friends within the church whose hearts are broken. Lament is the prayerful invitation to be honest and heart-felt. Lament also finds ways to do justice, to embody loving-kindness, and to walk humbly with God, these words of Micah stir afresh in me today. Jesus wept and then called for Lazarus to come out of the tomb. Both are needed and necessary. Both tears and faithful action. One informs the other. I pray for our country, community, church, and for each of you to find ways to let loose Micah's vision in your life today with those you encounter on life's road...may each of us encounter Christ in person before us - even through tear-soaked eyes. Amen.