Douglas Graves of Burbank, CA, USA
For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. -Isaiah 55:12
I’ve been having several conversations with friends about grief, and how we all are grieving during the pandemic. We may usually associate grief with the passing of a loved one, or the devastation of a place, or the ending of something meaningful. However, in these times we may be grieving for our routines, the events that were canceled, and even our ability to gather in large groups safely, plus many more.
I had the honor of officiating a friend’s wedding, and he has a Jewish background. Sadly, his father passed less than a week before his planned wedding. My friend’s mother had announced, at the time of his father’s passing, that the wedding would be happening. In the Jewish tradition, the body is buried as quickly as possible, and I was in attendance for the funeral.
The rabbi knew of the upcoming wedding and spoke to those gathered at the funeral and shared this word: simcha. Simcha is a word for happiness. The rabbi explained that joy always trumps sorrow. Therefore, even shiva (the mourning of the dead) should be broken for birthdays, weddings, births, and so on. Any occasion of joy must always surpass mourning.
So, as we grieve during these times of uncertainty, and grieve those moments that have passed, allow us to find those moments that need to be celebrated, so we can be fully present for them. May we be forgiving of the fact that things aren’t like they were supposed to be, and that our plans were forced to change. May we be grateful for what we have, and whom we are with in these times. We can mourn and grieve but let us have joy in those moments of celebration.
O God, rain down your blessings, wash away our troubles, flow over us with your Spirit.
If possible, sit where you can hear water-a fountain, stream, the sea, (perhaps a recording of water sounds). Listen to the sound as you thank God for the life-giving, life-shaping power of water. Pray for God’s blessing on all the parched places of the Earth where there is injustice, oppression, violence, and disregard for life. Pray for God’s justice to be released, and imagine it flowing over the Earth, restoring righteousness and wholeness. Now, get up and drink a glass of clear, cold water as you pray, “God, let your justice flow through me as a disciple of Christ Jesus.”
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.