How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? Psalm 13:1
It may be that many of us have asked this question during the “Time of Covid-19.” I thought in the beginning of this pandemic that a few weeks of hunkering down, staying home mostly and wearing masks when we just had to go out would take care of it. By Easter, I thought, all will be back to normal and we will have a grand Resurrection Sunday at Centenary!
I was wrong. Lent came and went. Easter came and went. So did Pentecost. we are now headed for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost with no end in sight. Schools did not reopen last year, and this year looks somewhat iffy and strange. We pray for school personnel and children. We pray for those who have lost jobs and perhaps homes. We pray for our neighbors who are sad and lonely. For those in hospitals and nursing homes who are not able to see their loved ones and for those loved ones who cannot visit them. Some people have grown so tired of trying to be careful that they have simply thrown their hands up in despair. Will it never end? How long, O Lord? How long?
I remain in Massachusetts with the beloved grandson, and while I love being with him, it is hot here. Lots of days in the high 90s. This is not what I expected nor truthfully what I had packed for. Rick has had to send me some cooler clothing from North Carolina. And since my caring children do not want me to leave the premises except to go for a quick walk each morning, I will admit that my cry has risen in the words of the Psalmist, “How long, O Lord?” How many days can I entertain a six-year-old without losing my patience? How long can I be away from home without getting homesick? How long can I eat my son’s wonderful lovingly prepared, healthful gourmet meals without longing for some good old Southern country cooking?
We are certainly not the first ones to cry out these words. The Psalmist lifts the lament, “How long, oh Lord?” in over a dozen Psalms. After many weeks, we find ourselves also asking, “How long, oh Lord, will our exile last? We do not know that answer, but we know that each of us has a role to play in speeding it up by loving our neighbor through responsible personal behavior.
It’s OK to ask that question, but we can’t live in that place. I believe the Lord is very patient with us. I believe that the Lord has given us grace to see us through difficult times, whatever they may be. Through it all, life keeps happening. Babies come, loved ones move on to the church triumphant. And, as my friend, Trudy, and I used to say, “Whatever else happens in life, one thing remains constant: laundry! Through the good and the bad, the rough and the smooth, there is always laundry!” And there is also the constant love, mercy and grace of God that upholds and sustains us.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures.
Almighty and merciful Lord, you have created all things and pronounced them to be good. Help us to see the goodness that you see in this world that we often find difficult to travel. Grant that we may feel your love and comfort at all times and in all places. And teach us to share that wonderful love and comfort with our neighbors. Amen.
Pastor Rachel Moser