Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lament on Maundy Thursday

Last night at Easter choir rehearsal, our choir director shared a tragic story about friends of his—the wife is dying of cancer, the husband lost his job because his company wanted 80 hour weeks from him, and their nine-year old son doesn't want to talk about how mommy is going to be getting a lot sicker. They ask for prayers.

After rehearsal I stopped to talk with a fellow choir member. His wife is taking a job in another city after two years of a local job search because she's a woman of integrity and is tired of being the only person at her workplace who understands that you have to say no before you start down the slippery slope. Her husband is taking an "early" retirement package and he and their girls will stay here until school is out, and then move. They have been and will continue to be in my prayers. I'll miss them.

As I drove home last night, and again tonight as I was driving home from a particularly thought provoking Seder (we used the Freedom Seder by Rabbi Arthur Waskow), the setting of Psalm 130 by Martin Luther, translated by Catherine Winkworth, with a blues arrangement by my friend Arthur Hock, came to my mind (sorry, not published or recorded for public use). On this night in the Christian tradition, where Jesus supped with friends and then was betrayed, and as we pray for friends in these kind of tough situations, surely this is one of the Psalms of Lament that we can and must sing to the blues.

Out of the depths I cry to Thee;
Lord, hear me, I implore Thee!
Bend down Thy gracious ear to me;
I lay my sins before Thee.
If Thou rememberest each misdeed,
If each should have its rightful meed,
Who may abide Thy presence?

In the face of loss and grief, I feel called to witness, to hold the pain for a bit, to make space for lament. Tonight we sit in the garden, falling asleep, while someone cries, out of the depths of pain. God hears, God knows. Amen.

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