Author: Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Reflection: v.12, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning’
The night before the inauguration, the Biden administration hosted a memorial to honor and grieve for the then 400,000 American lives lost to Covid-19. I almost did not watch it. These days it seems there is only so much I can hold, and after a long week with my community and a full day of parenting, I did not want to make the time. On a whim, I decided to prop my phone up near the sink as I cleaned the dishes from the day, and as Lori Marie Key, the nurse from Michigan, began singing ‘Amazing Grace,’ I wept. In that moment I realized that our country had not yet had this kind of intentional, collective moment of remembering and mourning for victims of the virus, and I had not even realized how much I longed for one. Certainly, I had grieved the lives of those I had personally lost to Covid19. I had registered the magnitude of what was happening as I checked the climbing numbers in the news each day. I held my private vigils as I plowed through the difficult sacrifices of our new world. But something about the intentionality of this ceremony and the recognition of our pain and loss reached somewhere deep inside me and allowed me to grieve more fully and honestly. Moreover, knowing that from my little kitchen in Georgia, I was watching this memorial with so many others, I felt connected to the other souls who were carrying the same grief and burdens as me. As I watched the lights on the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool through tear-filled eyes, I remembered that every single human life has value. I remembered that as Christians we are called to honor human beings, never taking for granted any precious life. Lent is also a season that we intentionally set aside to remember. Lent is a season to repent—to change our hearts and lives and turn ourselves toward God. Maybe this season is just what we need right now, so long as we take the time to honor its true purpose.
Prayer I pray this Lent that in the stillness of this long stretch toward Easter we take the time to pause, to grieve, to remember who our God is, and to honor the value of a human life.