Yesterday (11/14/21), if you were in-person, in the sanctuary, you might have noticed that we moved the icons of the Saints to overlook the narthex/living room.
As I entered into the church yesterday, it was like being watched over by the “great cloud of witnesses” that the Epistle to the Hebrews speaks of: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:-1-2a)
As I walked into the sanctuary for our service of lament, it was as if they were cheering us on, saying, “Keep running the race.”
As we raised our laments together yesterday, whether separated by distance or not, we were watched over by these Witnesses. We were bound together in our grief, in our hope, in the love of the Pioneer and Perfecter. It was good to honor our losses and give voice to them together.
Collectively, we have shared a great many wounds and griefs over the past few years—unprecedented catastrophes brought on by climate change, a global pandemic, a pandemic of mental health brought on by that pandemic, an election often fueled by hatred, the ongoing polarization of people we love, a global pandemic, the loss of financial stability, loved ones gone too soon, a violent attack upon the Capitol, and the epidemic of burnout, especially among our educators and medical providers. Oh, and did I mention we’re in a global pandemic? We need to acknowledge these losses. We need to speak the names of ones we have lost—yesterday, I spoke the name of my last grandparent figure, Grandma Marie.
As we gave voice to our pains, we were watched over by these Saints. At the center of them, you might have noticed a new icon—Jesus, battered, bruised, bearing the marks of the Cross, but there he sits. Undefeated. Resurrected and presiding over the Eucharist. This is the meal that reminds us that at the very center of God’s movement toward us is grace. Unearned, unmerited, the free gift of love.
This Sunday is Christ the King Sunday. We will gather to celebrate the victories and hopes, however small they are. We will worship the God who has conquered the grave by receiving Communion together. We have individual, prepackaged elements ready for you. If you are joining us online, please gather your elements and join with us.
Yours in Christ,