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Wednesday Wondering - January 3, 2024

Scripture

Psalm 30: 5

“Weeping may linger for the night,    but joy comes with the morning.”


John 16: 20

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.”


2 Corinthians 6: 10

“As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.”


Reflection

I have been wondering lately about this world in which we live and our experiences of it. We are living in the midst of deep fundamental struggles in the world. We live with war, violence, anger, separation, marginalization, and a whole host of other issues. There is homelessness, poverty, environmental destruction, climate change, it seems as if no matter where we turn there are challenges.


Living in the midst of all of this it might be challenging for us to find hope, joy. happiness, laughter, but as Christians we have to believe that there is something more. But I think that in looking for that something more, we might just miss something important. The readings I chose speak to the idea of sorrow and rejoicing existing together, that there is weeping and lament, but there is also rejoicing, that sadness may come but joy will also be present. We are not simple beings, we are complex, emotional individuals, and we are sometimes contradictory in how we feel. The challenge is to recognize that that is okay. Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, the American poet, offers this poem for us to consider:


I want a word the means

okay and not okay,

more than that: a word the means

devastated and stunned with joy.

I want the word that says

I feel it all all at once.

The heart is not like a songbird

singing only one note at a time,

more like a Tuvan throat singer

able to sing both a drone

and simultaneously

two or three harmonics high above it -

a sound, the Tuvans say,

that gives the impression

 of wind swirling among rocks.

The heart understands swirl,

how the churning of opposite feelings

weaves through us like an insistent breeze

leads us wordlessly deeper into ourselves,

blesses us with paradox

so we might walk more openly

into this world so rife with devastation,

this world so ripe with joy.


Our world is full of paradox. We have the devastation of so much that is happening and we have the beauty of creation and those whom we know that exude peace and love. Our lives are full of paradox as we love, laugh, grieve, cry, sometimes at the same time. To be human is to exist in the midst of this paradox, remembering that even in the midst of pain and suffering, sadness and grief, there can be joy, laughter, and happiness. Sometimes, as the poem states, we feel it all at once and I believe that that is okay. Yet, our scriptures remind us of something important. The scripture passages remind us that God is with us through it all, that the presence of God will be there when we cry, when we lament, when we rage, when we laugh, when we sing, when we smile, always.


In the midst of all of the paradox, in the midst of all of the contradiction, that life throws at us, God is with us. We have a hymn in our More Voices hymn book which has the line, “Spirit open my heart to the pain and joy of living/As you love may I love, in receiving and in giving/ Spirit open my heart” In the midst of all of the challenges that the world bring to us, may we open our heart to the presence of God with us. May we love as God loves us. May we find those moments of joy, peace, and love, in the midst of everything challenging in our lives. I pray that each of us can live into the paradox of being fully human with all that that entails.


Prayer

God of all experiences, may we have the courage to live within the paradox, the contradictions, of our lives and the world. We ask for your guidance and presence when the world seems overwhelming, that we might find you and your joy in the midst of the challenges, and sadness, of life. Help us to open our hearts to you at each moment, when we are happy and joyful, and when we are sad and lamenting. May we find you in every moment, offering your gentle assurance, your gentle presence, your gentle love, as we navigate what it truly means to be human. We ask this in the name of Love Incarnate, God With Us, your son, Jesus. Amen.

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