Editor’s Note: The COVID-19 pandemic is currently preventing those who would normally attend church from doing so. The Herald has asked local spiritual leaders to submit written sermons for this new weekly column. Leaders who are interested in submitting sermons should do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
How are you feeling?
The title of the piece is my general conversation starter. How are you? And I am not looking for a discussion of the weather or another surface platitude that covers and hides the genuine emotions.
So, in the age of Corona, how are you, right now?
I’ll tell you how I feel.
I have had some fantastic family moments with my children (ages 5, 8, and 10) and wife. We’ve played long games of Monopoly, hiked many miles, and enjoyed true “down” time that is often absent in our hectic lives. We’ve reconnected with cousins and old friends. It’s genuinely been meaningful and a reset for us. I am grateful for these moments
I have also felt an incredible closeness with God and our Parish. We have been meeting over Zoom, and it’s been a powerful way for us to share in the Gospel and support and love each other.
The feelings in the preceding paragraphs are 100 percent true. Equally valid and many times in the same hour are feelings of despair, anger, and grief. For instance, in the same hour as a family walk, we will experience a family breakdown: i.e., everybody is yelling. The joy of the moment with the family gives way to the fears of the future: Will my son start Kindergarten wearing a mask? Will one of our family members die from COVID-19? What will be the economic ramifications of this pandemic? Emotional rabbit holes!
Church has been Holy Spirit-filled over Zoom, but it’s not immune from these rabbit holes either. When will we have public worship again? What will a post coronavirus life look like in church and the world? And just the sheer lamenting of not getting to hug my friends (anywhere!). I worry about teenagers, young adults, older adults in the parish, and outside of it…Help!
Do some of these feelings and questions bubble up in your life? I’m guessing so. What do we do with these feelings in this unprecedented time? Where do we go with these feelings?
We go to God with all of them. The good, bad, indifferent, and the yelling and screaming and the hardest question you can muster. Take it to God.
Can we take these emotions (those yucky, gucky things) to God? YES, and our Bible tells us so! This time is unprecedented for us, but the rawness of emotion and collective struggle is not. Humanity has been torched by plagues before. Humanity has been experienced collective grief and scary moments before just like we have all celebrated, too.
How do we know this? Well, it’s chronicled in the Bible, the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments that tell the story of God’s people: you and me. Specifically, I’d call your attention to the Psalms. The Psalms are the emotional bedrock of the Biblical Canon. These poems ocellate between lament, thanksgiving, joy, anger and sadness and are spread out through the entire Psalter. They are raw feelings, the heartbeat of humanity calling out to God for help, in despair, in collective grief, in anger, in questioning, in wonderings, you name it, and it’s there.
The Psalter does something else, too, it calls us back to Jesus, and we remember that we are part of a story that has already been written. The Psalmist writes:
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Ps. 30:5)
The above verse is a direct connection to the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Author and Protector of our Faith. It is in His death that we are reconciled to God, and in His resurrection that we have our Hope. Good Friday gives way to Easter Morning.
The Good News is God has written the final ending and he has not abandoned us, nor forsaken us, rather He awaits your petitions, cries, screams and everything you have throw at Him. Read a few Psalms and hand it all over to God.
-Willis Logan is a minister serving at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Fincastle. He’d love to check in with you, drop him an email if you want to talk, email@example.com