I’ve just heard that the numbers for Victoria are 723 today. Seven hundred and twenty-three people have tested positive to the Coronavirus in the last twenty-four hours. 255 are in regional Victoria. My heart sinks. What will the future hold for us? We must all be feeing deflated, frustrated, disappointed.
Here in the City of Greater Geelong we can no longer have visitors to our homes, and from Sunday must all wear a mask or face covering as soon as we step out of our homes. These seem simple and perfectly reasonable measures to lower the spread of the virus. Let’s get the masks on today!
Of course, people who are sick must not go to work, and if we are tested we must stay at home until our results are available. And let’s not forget to wash our hands! These things we can do. They will all help
But the overall effect is frustration. This wretched virus! How it has disrupted our lives, and puts so much in jeopardy. Plans must change. Jen, our hard-working Parish Administrator, has postponed her wedding which was to have taken place in September and now is planned for next June. So many other things are affected, too. I’m sure you know of plenty. Living through this is wearing. Some are becoming angry.
So many of the psalms are written through difficult times, asking questions of God, complaining to God, lamenting what is happening. When everything in my life is going fine, they are a surprise, sometimes an embarrassment. When things are difficult, I have found that they help amazingly. Others have been here before me and have expressed what I feel in very explicit, tough language. Sometimes I can even feel with the most repellent expressions, though I don’t want to! But it is so good to know it is OK to complain to God, even to get angry with him. It is godly to lament the tragedies of the world.
In fact, there is a whole book of laments in the Bible, called, not so surprisingly, Lamentations. Have you read it? I’m not surprised if you haven’t! It is depressing reading.
In our English translations, it can look like a whole lot of dark thoughts and experiences jumbled together. But notice the chapter lengths. It is structured around the Hebrew alphabet of 22 letters, indicating that all of what can be said about the subject is attempted here, and does so in a carefully structured way. The third, longest, and central chapter has as its heart an amazing change of tone. One of your and my most favourite and comforting verses in the Bible comes from this very context:
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I will say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
It is good to wait patiently for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3: 19 – 26.
So, complain to God, be real with God, get close to God. God is with us in our lamenting. Praise God. Sing, ‘Great is your faithfulness.’
With love and blessings to you,
Locum minister, Holy Trinity Lara with Christ Church Little River.
HOLY TRINITY & CHRIST CHURCH WEEKLY REFLECTION
Welcome to our weekly reflection!