The loved one is in prison, the hospital, hospice, quarantine, or serving abroad. Some extended families face all of these circumstances at once right now. Yet the scriptures don’t avoid the expectation to feel joy.
Instead, we perpetuate myths about homelessness that embolden our stance against policy that will set them free. We stay secure in our implicit and explicit beliefs that certain people have opted out of deserving our compassion.
It’s a mystery our culture often refuses to face, Peterson argues; and while her book was written almost entirely before the Covid pandemic, this contemplation of death—our cultural refusal to face death, the transformative power that accompanies those who do—is prescient, Peterson’s voice prophetically calling us to “awaken to death” as a way to live more profoundly.
We need a more robust theology of a God who suffers with us—who was born on the margins and executed on the cross, who knows what it feels like to say “I can’t breathe”—as thousands of folks are saying throughout the streets of America. God is with us.
I continue to be challenged by the ongoing need for reconstruction, for the building of a society not based on the evils of systemic racism and environmental degradation; it’s big, overdue work. I feel helpless and lost, I am not sure how to help. It’s a lot, and I am discouraged and overwhelmed. Yet, I am singing.
These days, my emotions are not a reliable source. They are up and down and back and forth and all over the place, telling me stories and lies and leading me down all sorts of rabbit holes. I don’t need emotional authenticity—I need something solid. I need a touchstone to ground me. I don’t need high-energy, emotional worship; I need liturgy.