You have turned for me, my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sack cloth and clothed me in gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I give you thanks and praise forever!
- Psalm 30:11-12
We call ourselves Easter people, the people of the Risen Lord. In the joy of Easter, we sometimes forget we are also the people of Holy Week. A people familiar with suffering and the cross. The cross where Jesus bears all our brokenness and gifts us with the joy of love, hope, grace, and salvation. During these past months, we have lost much. We grieve without realizing that we are grieving. We walk in a storm where social, economic, and health concerns collide and rage.
We are walking through a storm, grieving what we have lost without knowing that we are actually grieving. After all, there has been no funeral nor tangible loss, but we sense we have lost some things, and life will never be the same.
We can be reassured that we do not walk in this storm alone. Jesus walks beside us. Another reassurance is the stories of the saints and cloud of witnesses, stories of perseverance, resilience, hope, and love.
Recently, I received a subscription to a gardening magazine filled with stories of creation and tangible gifts of hope. I am going to paraphrase one.
After celebrating their 39th wedding anniversary, the husband went for a normal checkup. It was there that he was given the somber news. He was very ill and didn’t have much time to live. Several months later, he passed away. Autumn and winter were diﬃcult for his grieving widow. Then, in the spring, hundreds of daﬀodils began popping up all over their yard. She was amazed and puzzled. There had never been daﬀodils in her yard. One day, her husband’s lawyer called to present her with two boxes. One was labeled, “open me first.” In the first box was a videotape from her husband, wishing her a happy anniversary, and sharing his gift – “the yard full of flowers.”
In the second box was a note, “And you didn’t think I did this by myself!” From the box, tumbled hundreds of photos, pictures of friends and family members secretly planting daffodil bulbs. The community of Christ is a community of loving our neighbor! A community of hope shared in different ways to comfort the grieving and offer a reminder of light during hard times.
This reminded me of a story of some All Saints’ saints!
Once upon a time, Mike McCarthy planted hundreds of daffodil bulbs on the All Saints’ grounds in thanksgiving for the marriage of his friends, Guy and Marinelle Neal. The bulbs bloom each spring, and they are now watered by a well, funded with a memorial gift from Guy and Marinelle’s estate. This gift is a continual and living reminder that love conquers suffering, and hope abounds in the storm.
All of us walk through times of suffering and storms. Our strength is in the love of our God, who turns our mourning into dancing.
May you find joy this day!