One of my seminary professors, echoing many of the great spiritual teachers of the Christian tradition, often reminds his students that, “the baptized life is always praise and lament, praise and lament.” Our lives are always held between praise for God’s goodness in the world and the reality of our human suffering and brokenness.
On Sunday, we celebrate Pentecost and recall the promised gift of God’s Holy Spirit, our Comforter and Advocate. Fifty days following Easter, Pentecost is a day of great joy in the life of the Church as we remember God’s goodness toward and abiding presence with every generation of those who follow in the way of the risen Christ. We’ll mark this great festival day with praise, including the return of music to our sacred space, even as we continue to gather for worship online.
And yet, in the midst of our praise, there is also need for lament. This week, the United States crossed the sobering threshold of 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, even as communities across the nation and nearby experience new spikes in illness. Our nation has, yet again, been rocked by the brutal death of a black man, George Floyd. And, as ever, there are individual heartaches and pains that continue to confront each and every one us, day by day. To name these places of deep hurt and sorrow is an important act of faithfulness.
Praise and Lament.
These are the truth of our life, individually and collectively.
Following our celebration of Pentecost Sunday, Presiding Bishop Curry has called for a day of lament on Monday, June 1
. This is also a great feast day in the life of the Church, the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On Monday, at 12:00PM, a service of Noonday Prayer will be offered online, making space for our collective lament as God’s people, ever placing our trust in the One who has not left us comfortless.
The Reverend Andrew J. Hege