As we enter into a full year of the pandemic, it is normal to stop and take stock. To stop and remember all things we lost. Simple things, like having to go back to the car to grab a mask, in order to complete our Walmart run. Difficult things, like having to learn new ways of education and worship. We have lost so much. We have lost our routines. We have lost normalcy. We have lost security and safety. We have lost friends and relatives.
We are all ready to “get back to normal”. And in time we will find a new normal. In time this will end, as all things do.
We are now in the season of Lent. The Season of Lent is the season before Easter. It is the season where we prepare to tell the story of the death of Jesus. It is the season where we prepare to tell the story of the Resurrection of Jesus. It is a season to stop and take stock.
This year, more than many before it, is important that we stop and take stock. That we call out the things we have lost. That we recognize our pain and our grief. There is always a temptation to jump to the good stuff, to move quickly through Lent and rush to the good news of Easter. But if we do that, it is possible that those that have suffered loss, those that are still in grief may feel that we have abandoned their stories. That we have jumped over and rushed pass their pain and grief.
With the Resurrection in mind, let us stop and call out this season of loss and grief. Let us recognize that this last year has been hard. Everyone has felt afraid. Everyone has felt loss.
Many years ago, I saw a film titled Bringing Out the Dead. It is a film directed by Martin Scorsese and staring Nicolas Cage. In the film, Nicolas Cage plays a third shift ambulance driver, and wants so very badly to help the world. It probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But there is a line from that film that stayed with me.
Cage’s character, Frank, finds himself caring for the homeless and junkies who simply end up back on the street the following night. He feels useless and hopeless. He wants to make a difference, but nothing in his world ever changes. Halfway through the story, he is given these words:
“Who says you are supposed to save lives? Maybe your job is simply to bear witness.”
Like Frank, I want to help. I want things to go back to normal. I want to skip over the pain and grief and rush straight into the good news of Easter. But we are not at that part of the story yet. We still sit in the season of Lent. We still wait for the light to burst forth from the darkness.
Many of you have lost more than I have these last twelve months. And I know these simple words are not enough to recognize those losses. But for what it is worth, please know that we see you. We sit with you. We wait in the season of darkness with you. Waiting for the season of Light.
Pastor Jesse Letourneau