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By Rev. Carrie Irwin

As we approach the beginning of Lent, a year into the global pandemic of COVID, I find myself pondering again a psalm of lament that I wrote in April of 2020. It speaks of the anguish and the hope that I believe many have and continue to feel in the midst of huge uncertainty.  In this past year, what I have learned is to hold tenderly both my knowing and unknowing, my certainty and uncertainty all the while trusting that God has us securely held in God’s hand.

Psalm of Lament – Why do You Weep?

My God, creator of togetherness, of touch, relationship, and community, I cry out to you.

Something is welling up inside me that is fighting to get free.

It burns like acid and chokes my breath,

It is dark, and it is light,

It is wet and it is parched,

It is screaming and it is silent

It is powerful and it is weak.

My grief is rolling and crashing onto the shores of my life, onto the shores of our life.

So much is different, so much is lost, life is so unfamiliar, our security is gone.

If I let it out, will I sink beneath the crashing waves of grief and fear, and be consumed by pain and anguish to simply disappear?

Why do you weep?

Do your tears run down your face or are they poured out on paper?

Do your tears fall on meals prepared for your family and your friends?

Do your tears fall silently behind masks and face shields as you tend the sick?

Do your tears fall from behind plexiglass walls as you serve your community?

Why do you weep?

Jesus, at the tomb of Lazarus, you wept, even knowing what you would do, the swell of tears still flowed down your cheeks. You know my aching heart.

Jesus, you wept over Jerusalem even as you offered like a mother hen to gather your children in under your wings. You know my mother’s heart.

Jesus, you offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears to the One able to save you. You know my hope filled heart.

Why do you weep?

We do not grieve as those without hope. Our hope is in you, our joy comes from knowing that the dawn brings new life, from our assurity that you are with us, and that ultimately this too shall pass, and you will be victorious.

And so I weep, I weep tears not only in anguish, but I weep tears of joy and gratitude. I weep in thankfulness for the sun that rises in the morning, for the possibilities in a new day. I weep in deep longing to be held again in the arms of my loved ones not within my reach. I weep in gratitude for the bravery and courage of those who are called to tend our sick, serve our community and keep our infrastructures in place and I weep for those who pray for us.

I weep for those who have passed from this world, who find eternal rest now with their savior, and I weep in joy for the thousands who have recovered from this pandemic and for those who will recover yet.

I weep for the joy found in the trust that I have in a God who has promised to be with us forever.

Jesus, you never told us to go it alone, you never told us that we could not weep.  Indeed, you called us to love, to care for one another, to trust in God and to pray. And so I offer this, my lament and prayer to you, knowing that you hold us, in the palm of your hand. Amen

Rev. Carrie Irwin AFP Executive, North; Rector of The Regional Ministry of Saugeen Shores, Tara and Chatsworth; and Regional Dean of the Saugeens.