Christians & Coronavirus:
Staying Connected in Christ
MARCH 23, 2020
"LAMENTING & LAUGHTER"
LAMENTING & LAUGHTER
Webster defines lament as "expressing grief and sorrow over one situation or event." This certainly sounds appropriate and sums up a large part of our society. The COVID-19 virus is ravaging life as we know it, with parameters changing daily on how to live.
Fr. Richard Rohr’s daily meditation shares some insight on Christian lamentation:
Intelligently responding to the coronavirus demands that we access resources of physical, emotional and spiritual resilience. One practice Christianity has developed to nurture resilience is lamentation. Prayers of lamentation arise in us when we sit and speak out to God and one another—stunned, sad, and silenced by the tragedy and absurdity of human events. . . Without this we do not suffer the necessary pain of this world, the necessary sadness of being human.
Scripture scholar Walter Brueggemann, points out that even though about one third of the Psalms are psalms of “lament,” these have been the least used by Catholic and Protestant liturgies. We think they make us appear weak, helpless, and vulnerable, or show a lack of faith. So we quickly resort to praise and thanksgiving. We forget that Jesus called weeping a “blessed” state (Matthew 5:5) and that only one book of the Bible is named after an emotion: Jeremiah’s book of “Lamentation.”
This meditation suggests that we have a tendency to turn lamenting into praise and thanksgiving as an escape from life’s tragedies. But in my humble opinion when lamenting a situation we simply have no control over, why shouldn’t we try to find ways to be grateful for the good parts of life and the people in our lives? Why shouldn’t we lift praise and thanksgiving to God in all parts of life? St. Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” Praising God and being grateful during uncertain times not only lifts our spirits a bit, but can help maintain some emotional balance so we don’t fall into depression. Please don't misunderstand, or think that I'm insensitive to the gravity of our situation. But laughter is good medicine and the people around us, like family, can just make us laugh out loud!
My daughter lives in Cape Cod with her husband and 4-year-old son.(Our grandson's a hoot! but that’s another article). Her in-laws sent out a video asking, rather challenging other family members to make a music video and send it to each other as a contest. The winner would win coupons to the local supermarket. They are doing this to pass the time and stay connected with each other. Our daughter and son-in-law sent us their video. These two grown people were sitting in a cardboard cut out of a trolley car singing, “Daniel Tigers Neighborhood” asking us to come along! It's hard to describe but it was truly the right medicine for these crazy times. Marcy and I LOL'd (laughed out loud)! Our daughter and son-in-law won the contest and the coupons. And maybe that's the challenge for us. Every day how can we bring a smile to those around us? Every day how can we be a beacon of joy to our neighbors and friends? If we can make someone smile amid all this lamenting, maybe they will turn to God in praise and thanksgiving for you! Give it a try. What do you have to lose? And for heaven sakes... together let's stay connected in Christ in our sadness and our joys.
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