Today, my husband and I attended Psalm Sunday services. No, this beautiful church is not where we attend, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if all churches were this lovely?
We attended church regularly most of our married life—dragging sleepy children out of their beds and enduring the getting everyone ready and into the car! Oh, I do remember those days! With daughter’s health issues and the demands on my free time—(what’s that???), we’ve gotten lazy (and tired), and church attendance has fallen by the wayside. I’ve enjoyed my leisurely Sunday mornings --it is supposed to be day of rest, isn’t it? I don’t think church attendance is mandatory, but it helps me keep my equilibrium in a turbulent world. I’m thinking many of us have gotten this wrong thinking that by going to church we are doing G-d a favor. I’m thinking that we go there to receive strength to endure and persevere the tribulations of life.
I love the joy of children on Psalm Sunday. Two toddler girls near us were dancing and waving their palm branches during the worship service. I love the image of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey which fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy. How fitting that the donkey represents peace and humility.
After church I talked to “C” who is working at a furious pace with two trials coming up. She has worked all weekend! ( She still promises new posts when things settle down at the office! ) During our conversation she told me some sad news. While at the bank the other day, she saw the picture of a medical professional we have both used---and she realized that it was a memorial. Inquiring, she learned that this 40 year old man had taken his own life. I often don’t read the newspaper anymore, so I had missed it. It just made me sick to find this out. I genuinely liked this person—he seemed to have everything going for him. He was smart and handsome with an easy going manner. Who knew that he struggled with addiction issues in his life? I recalled a conversation he and I had when my son was recovering from a broken neck. At the time my son’s neurosurgeon was murdered by her husband ( a resident physician) who then killed himself by jumping from a top floor of the medical school living quarters. We mused about what caused such a tragedy to occur and then to learn that he ended his own life just last month makes me sad. We really never know what burdens another person carries. Despair is a dangerous emotion. Doing a little research, I was astounded to learn that there are 31,000 lives lost to suicide each year. The surviving families are victims too.
My son and youngest daughter both had classmates in high school who were lost to suicide. I never had to face anything like that growing up. My son’s classmate was in despair over his parent’s divorce. A couple of years his later, his mother ended her life, unable to bear the pain.
Youngest daughter’s friend was illegitimate and rejected by his father. His pain was so evident, even in the physical scars from cutting himself that I noticed on his arms when I drove him home one evening. I don’t presume to know the mind of G-d, but somehow I don’t feel that all those who take their own lives are lost to G-d.
I’m remembering the tears Jesus shed over Jerusalem as he entered the city. Surely this broken world grieves him still. Lord have mercy.
In the midst of this troubled world, there is still hope. Blessed Holy Week to all.