Lenten Reflection for April 1

Answer me quickly, O Lord;
    my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me,
    or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
    for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
    for to you I lift up my soul.
–Psalm 143:7–8

Pastor Anne’s Reflection

In Psalm 143, we hear the prophet lamenting about how difficult things are, yet still finding hope in God’s promises. So today I’m sharing my own poem of lament and hope. I wonder where you might see yourself in the procession I refer to below. We are marching toward Holy Week, maybe as disoriented as those who did it the first time. Perhaps the gift is that we’ll be able to understand it in profound new ways.

Pandemic Procession

I’m packin’ up for Palm Sunday.
We’re heading to Jerusalem, like always.

But this year, the parade is different.
And I’ve got four kids in tow.

I see, now more than ever,
how much we need one another
in procession.

So I’m thankful for the diversity of this crowd.
For the ones who are reading,
the ones who are writing,
the ones who are building and growing and producing,
the ones making liturgy
and the ones singing and praying.
The ones who seem to have endless energy
and the ones who model Sabbath.

I’m thankful for the ones who lead us,
the ones who feed us.
The doctors and nurses
and those tending the groceries.
I see you, making art,
and toiling away.
I see the ones engineering,
and teaching,
and planning,
and fixing.
I see the ones keeping peace.

I’ll do my part. But I’ve got four kids in tow.
I guide them through the chaos,
help them survive this new procession,
and their grief
and their fear
and confusion,
without getting hurt.

I’ll do my part.
If someone falls down
while we’re walking this bumpy road,
I’ve got bandaids.
And if someone has an accident,
I’m sure there are wipes in here somewhere.
I’ve got snacks.
I’ve got fish crackers and coffee and wine to share.
If you get bored or worried,
I can lead us in a song, with hand motions.
I will pray, and comfort, and entertain, and pray again.
This backpack is heavy
but it has endless tricks and treats.

I can’t carry this procession by myself,
but neither can you.

You’ve got aging parents to watch for
and sick neighbors to check on.
You’ve got a dog to feed
and a job to keep up with.
You’ve got your own kids,
your own baggage,
your own work to do.

I’ll stop to care for those I can.
And so will you.

If you want to chat for a bit while we process,
I will, when I can,

but I’ve got four kids in tow,
and I’m doing the best I can.

I can’t carry this procession by myself,
but neither can you.
It turns out, we never could.

We walk together,
each doing our part.
It’s a big crowd, and between us
we have every gift we need.

So no need for envy.
No time for criticism.
No reason to compare.

We’ll get there, but
it will take the whole of us,
every last one,
sharing, helping,
taking turns being weak and being strong.

I’m a pastor mom
walking the pandemic procession.

I’m doing the best I can.
And so are you.

And we’re all following Jesus.