The Corner Office
Water from a Rock - You Gotta Sing the Blues
Unfortunately, neither life nor faith is always like a Disney movie. Last Wednesday, the Church entered into that season of Lent when we remind ourselves of this reality. Some of us put the ashes of dead palm leaves on our foreheads. For the next few weeks, many congregations will refrain from singing the "Alleluia." Instead they will spend more time singing laments.
Yes, God is with us, but this does not shelter us from the death, loss and grief that we are all bound to eventually experience in our lives. We do not experience grief in a way that compliments how much we have sinned. No, every single one of us will face up to loss just like every one else.
Now, if you avoid grief, and if you shelter yourself from death and loss, you will neither have a healthy emotional life or a healthy spiritual life. We must engage our grief head on. We must wade through it in order to eventually rise above it. We all have our individual ways of dealing with loss. I listen to loud metal music and sometimes the blues. The Hebrews wrote poems and songs of lament, such as Psalm 137. When their nation was demolished by the Assyrians, and they were taken off to the capital in Babylon to live as slaves, they engaged their grief with verses such as these:
By the rivers of Babylon-
There we sat down and there we wept,
When we remembered Zion.
On the willows there we hung our harps.
For there our captors asked us for songs.
And our tormentors asked us for mirth, saying,
"Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
So take this time to engage your grief; consider what loss feels like for you. Imagine where your strength might come from when all other strength has left you. Remember, Jesus did not save a bunch of people, start the Church and then fly up to heaven with hosts of angels in praise. He died and went to hell. He waded through the darkness and entered the bowels. So sometimes, you gotta sing the blues. Jesus, and now we are stronger because of it.