Psalm and Solace

It’s likely that no one on the planet has not seen the pictures and heard the reports of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Exploitive and heart-breaking scenes of anguish and anger have flooded the media, taking us into the pain of tragedy, mystery, and sudden loss. The rawness of such grief in itself grieves me, especially when I hear the cry of the brokenhearted. The reporter captured the grieving woman’s words, “My gods have failed me…” While I have great sadness for the loss and unanswered questions of this unfolding tragedy, it is her words that locate my deepest grief: “My gods have failed me.”

I have been with the suffering and dying. I have been at the bedside in death and seen response that is very different than the responses I have seen on television in the past three weeks. Of course, anger is part of grief. Of course, questioning is part of the process. Especially in sudden and unexpected death, there is shock. I myself have buckled in the face of such loss. The difference is that I worship a God who does not fail me. I worship a God who comes to me and to the world in quiet comfort, solace for the grief stricken soul.

The psalms of the Lenten Season remind us that God is steadfast in mercy and grace. Psalm 121 – “I lift my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come. My help comes from the Lord…” our keeper in the grief and loss. Psalm 23 – “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me.” Psalm 130 – “Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord hear my cry… Hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is steadfast love.” I speak the words of these psalms to my television screen and pray for those whose pictures I see and even though I do not know their names, God does. I trust God to come to them, even if they cannot name God as God, and lift them from their distress and heal them in this great hurt and un-knowing.

Healing is God’s work in the world and has been since the dawning of time. Redemption, reconciliation, healing is what Christ brings. In Christ’s healing grace, we are strengthened to keep on keeping on. To find life beyond loss and to remember that the circumstances of this world, this material world, do not always work for us and our ease of existence. It is God who works for us and for good in the world. Strength for the journey is God with us.

How do we respond to the current events of the broken world around us? Landslide and loss – lost plane and mystery – land-grabbing and treaty breaking – sudden death and anguish – war and more war…. Unending suffering: the common-denominator of the human condition.

Enter the Christ event, suffering, dying, rising with a promise to come again. May Christ rise again, in me and in you that we may give witness to solace that soothes the broken places and righteousness that leads the way out of wilderness. Find a psalm for your day; Sing a song of hope and praise. Amen.

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