The images and the sounds from yesterday’s bombings in Boston are everywhere. It’s as though we somehow can’t get enough of them. And at the very same time we can’t stand to watch. Both. I find myself turning on the TV and pacing. Listening for….for….for what? What would ease this? Fix this? Heal this?
Those injured ones and those who have died. The innocents. My heart just cannot make its way around the irony of those who stood to cheer runners on, lost one or both legs before the race was even finished. How cruel. How tragic. How maddening.
For many of us this next Sunday the 23rd Psalm will be read during worship. Years ago I visited a parishioner who was a physician, and who was recovering from surgery. During the visit, we started talking about the 23rd Psalm. When asked what those words meant to him, he said, “These are `anchoring words.’ They are words that we can hold on to when we feel like we’ve lost everything else. They are words that hold us in place and never, ever let us go.”
“The Lord is my shepherd,” “yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies,” and “Thou annointest my head,” …“Thou art with me.” So many of these words and phrases have been and continue to be anchoring words. I believe that when we begin to choose which words are ours, we listen more closely for what comes next.
It wasn’t that long ago (Linda was pregnant with Sam) that so many of us witnessed hours like these hours. Days like these days. It was New York on a Tuesday morning before. As I recall neighbors were kinder to one another then. Traffic was almost civil here in Atlanta. We looked one another in the eye and realized just how precious this life is that we are living.
In these tender days be gentle with yourself and one another. Act and speak kindly. May we find and use our anchoring words for strength, for balance and for grounding. As we carry the sounds and images in our hearts and prayers, may they be accompanied by the living sounds of faith, hope and love.
Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. Kyrie eleison.
Working as a Hospice Chaplain, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.