How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? ~Psalm 13: 1-2
Today, June 1, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada National Bishop Susan Johnson has invited us to join with faith leaders across Canada and the United States for a National Day of Mourning and Lament for all those who have died because of Covid-19.
It is a time to mourn, lament and acknowledge the lives that have been lost to this virus. In the US over 100,000 lives lost now, and in Canada 7, 325. In some places, the magnitude of this loss is unimaginable. So today, we give space to lament and grieve. In our lament, we acknowledge an emptiness, a longing, and we can give voice to the myriad of questions we have for God. There don’t even have to be answers yet. We just need to ask along with the Psalmist: How long, O Lord? How long, O Lord, until there is a vaccine. How long, O Lord until people stop dying from this virus. How long, O Lord, must we physically distance. How long….we wonder.
Today, we also give space to grieve. To grieve all we have lost in this time of Covid-19 but most importantly, to grieve those who have died because of this virus and as we do, we say: we remember you. You may have died alone, you may have died too soon. But you are not forgotten. For we will remember you and we will mourn your death. You lived once. You have family and friends, coworkers. They grieve. And we grieve, too.
We gather in lament and grief as we pray,
God of all power and love, we give thanks for your unfailing presence
and the hope you provide in times of uncertainty and loss.
Send your Holy Spirit to enkindle in us your holy fire.
Revive us to live as Christ’s body in the world:
a people who pray, worship, learn, break bread, share life, heal neighbors,
bear good news, seek justice, rest and grow in the Spirit.
Wherever and however we gather,
unite us in common prayer and send us in common mission,
that we and the whole creation might be restored and renewed,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(“A Prayer for the Power of the Spirit among the People of God.” www.elca.org/ecumenical-call-to-prayer, written by Lutheran and Episcopal prayer leaders)