We were at our finally-met-in-person (!) friends’ church this weekend in NYC. David and his band, The Brilliance wrote a beautiful song for Clive 2 years ago while we were in the hospital.
It was so good to finally connect with them. Their music has been such a gift to us. From the crying out of “Have You Forsaken Me?” (which we blasted and cried out on our drive home from the hospital after Winnie died, and had some friends play for her funeral) to the hope of “The Sun Will Rise” to the beauty of “Gravity of Love.” (They have an amazing new CD out, please check it out! Or really any of their music. I’ll share more about their upcoming projects when I hear more, too.)
The service at their small church was exactly what we needed. Something about the anonymity so much more freedom for me to openly cry. It’s harder to do that in a room where everyone knows me, even though I know no one would be surprised or bothered by it.
We got prayer. David’s dad and friend prayed over us, their faces wet with tears. His dad said the apostles’ creed: “We believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…”
And went on to pray “I say WE, because we know that sometimes you can’t believe alone. We carry you. Even when you can’t believe, we believe for you.”
Isn’t it true, though: I believe. Also, Lord, help my unbelief.
The sermon was about expectation and disappointment. Jonathan Merritt shared about the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem the week of his death. He came riding a donkey, and people thought: “Can this be the king? Righteous and victorious, He’s coming to do something Big here. He has done so many miracles, now He will do more.” But he came to die. They did not expect that. (Please listen here: http://www.tgctribeca.com/teaching-archive/2017/3/15/lent.
So worth listening to, especially if you’ve felt in a season of disappointment!)
We sang Hosanna, after talking about Syria and Egypt’s tragic weeks. It was the saddest Hosanna I have ever heard. The instruments cried and wept with us.
Hosanna. Hosanna in the highest.
So somber, so sad. My face was streaked with tears.
On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into the city. Welcomed and praised and surrounded by hosannas. Killed only days later. The hosanna would be oh so sad if they knew what was coming. Somber. Grief. Death.
And then, days later: New life. Restoration. Resurrection.
I feel like I’m living in the middle days, on the Saturday. Yes, I can rejoice in what is ahead. But I am still somber, stricken. I am still naming what is wrong and waiting for someday-restoration. My hosanna song is somber, tear-filled, because I know of these broken days, and this broken world that surrounds.
Yes, I rejoice for the work that is done. For the presence, peace, life, joy that I (sometimes) feel in Christ. But, I will not pass over these days lightly. I will not, cannot, say “But look what comes ahead! Life!” Because the middle can be ever-long-suffering. Not that we lose hope, but that we don’t just reject the teaching that suffering offers us when we meet it with somber reflection.
My hosanna is sad, because I know what lies ahead in these middle-days and I don’t know when the end will come. Just as they didn’t know Jesus would rise, I don’t know when joy will return in this life, or when full restoration will happen in the next.
As I sang the hosanna-song, I thought of my joyful babes in heaven. Singing a happy hosanna-song. Oh, how I miss them! I wept. Not for them, but for me and the others waiting in these middle-days. We don’t know, we don’t understand. We wait. We sing “holy, holy, holy,” and we wait. He will return, making all things right, and new, and true.
“It’s a strange day, this in-between day. In between despair and joy. In between confusion and clarity. In between bad news and good news. In between darkness and light.”