Sometimes when I am in North Carolina, I like to visit our family cemetery and spend time with my parents, sisters, grandparents, great grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc., etc. It is fascinating to see how many generations are there and the span of their lives from just a few months old to well over 100 years.
I am often amazed at the range of emotions that come up for me in those moments; how I can still see faces, hear voices, and recall stories that only seem connected in that space.
I am reminded that I come from a long line of people of faith and courage, people who worked hard and made all kinds of sacrifices, who hoped beyond hope that better days were possible for the next generation, if not their own. I always come away feeling bathed in love and gratitude for those who have gone before. Parts of them still live on and fuel my days.
Death and despair are all around us as the daily count of those dying with COVID-19 (and other illnesses) remain in the hundreds. One of the most heart wrenching aspects for me, in addition to the actual deaths themselves, is the inability of family and friends to formally say goodbye. The process of gathering, sharing stories, holding onto one another, weeping, celebrating a life, and standing at grave sites together – ashes to ashes, dust to dust – is an important one that is now being denied.
Today is Good Friday, and it is about standing in lonely and desolate places, embracing the tears, sorrows, and despairs common to all.
We take our place at the foot of cross and witness the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. We listen for the sound of his voice and final words. We experience his anguish and align our own with his. As God is at work during his darkest hours of suffering and death, God is also at work in us, with us, and through us – even here, even now.
Though we are separated physically, all our tears blend together. We weep with those who weep. We remember that God hears every cry and pities every groan.
We wait for Sunday morning and the empty tomb. We wait for Resurrection, assured that it is coming for Jesus and for us. Come, Lord Jesus. Arise with hallelujah power. Give us fresh hope. Revive our souls again.
Grace and peace,