Living with Covid-19: Lamenting our Losses
Here in the middle of Holy Week 2020, we find ourselves in a very different world. It seems to be a world with many losses. We have lost close contact with our families and friends, lost our freedom of movement in our neighbourhood and beyond, lost our ability to travel or visit events that have been cancelled, lost in some degree, our capacity to plan and expect our future. We may even have lost a loved one. Our world has been turned upside down. In a moment, Covid-19 has been a taste death in the radical change that it forces upon us. It is important that we lament our losses.
Two weeks ago, on 21 March, Father Richard Rohr in his daily online meditation called on our need to lament our losses, our deaths at this time. He referred to the tradition that comes from our Jewish roots and is espoused by our Christian tradition – Lamentations. Many of the Psalms are in fact lamentations. As Christians they are also for us. They begin with a focus on our loss, our experience of a death. Then comes a calling on God to act for us. In the end, these lamentations bring us to an expression of our faith that God who loves us, will not desert us. God is with us in this time.
In his reflection, Rohr directs us to Psalm 22, to use in prayer this Holy Week and beyond. In Matthew’s Gospel read last Sunday, Jesus utters the opening words of this Psalm as he hangs on the cross. Perhaps it is our lamentation too. Here is his paraphrase of the first 5 verses of this Psalm:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me,
from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried
and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. (Ps. 22:1-5)
Something in our lives has died and is dying and so we lament. But we need to know that in our faith, after death comes new life. We celebrate this new life at Easter as we enter into the Resurrection of Jesus. The disciples discovered that they had new life when they discovered that the risen Jesus remained among them, in them. After the death, the loss, came the promise of new life.
In this Holy Week, while I lament my present losses, how
am I able to live with faith and hope for new life, for me,
for my family and for my world?
May we know – God is with us on every step, in every moment.