Sadness and Schools in This New Era

Today we received the official word that our schools are closed for the rest of the year.  I heard this news and started to cry.  I couldn’t help it.

I am sad for my son and him not being able to see his friends or his teachers any more for the year.  I am sad that lives are not normal and we are unsure when they will be.  I am sad that there is so much unknown and so much that is scary.  I am sad that we cannot hug our friends, have lunch with them, and chat about our day.

I am sad that I won’t get to go to the chorus concert of songs that my son has been working on.  I am sad that some kids are in unhealthy environments and may be struggling with having enough food. I am sad that we won’t get to go to any games or watch his friends play together.  I am sad we cannot have Nerf wars as a group of boys had planned to do.

I am also sad for my nephew and others who are seniors this year.  I cannot imagine what he and they are feeling right now.  I hope they have fond memories of an amazing school experience, although it is truly bizarre here at the end.  I hope and pray that they can be happy for what they do have, instead of only dwelling on the sadness.  I am trying to do that as well. Some days it is easier than others.  Today is a tough one.

We knew that the call to close schools for the rest of the year was coming but it is still so hard.  Three quarters of this school year is all that we had at school, with friends, with teachers, with normal routines, with sports, the arts, and other activities. This last quarter is quite bizarre and different than anything that we or anyone else has ever dealt with.  With that comes stress and sadness.

This afternoon, our school system is supposed to meet and figure out the next steps to finish learning for the rest of the school year.  Not sure how that will look, but I truly admire everyone who is working so hard on it.  This is so beyond what they had planned for when the school year started.  The fact that they are stepping up so well is testament to the talents and gifts that our educators have.  We are blessed to be part of such a district.

Earlier this week, my son’s school sent a video to all families.  It included comments and well wishes from the entire staff.  It looked like so much work but was so appreciated.  We could tell that our teachers, administrators, and everyone else truly miss the students as much as they miss them.  It made us smile.

Each day there seems to be some happiness and some reasons to smile.  But, there is also sadness, and worry, and fear, and many other complex emotions.  We do what we can each day but realize some days, it is okay to pause and just enjoy being together.  It is okay to get a late start, watch a funny show, and talk about happier times.  We also are reaching out to our loved ones and getting exercise.

I am sad for seniors who didn’t have a prom this year, and they don’t get the end of school fun that I remember from my senior year.  They didn’t get a spring break trip with their friends.  Also, who knows when they will be able to walk across the stage at graduation.  For that and for them, I am sad.  I hate this for them.

I also am sad for the 8th grade students at my son’s school who will be transitioning to the high school next year.  They too won’t get the normal end-of-the-year activities, fun, and special party.  They won’t be able to say goodbye to their favorite teachers, at least not in the traditional sense.  So that also is very sad.

I am sad for everyone as they finish out the year not being able to go back to school and give that favorite teacher a hug, or see a friend at lunch, or walk down the hall to their locker and run to class.  I am sad that life is so very different and so much is unknown.

My heart is with everyone as we try to figure out how to move forward.  How can we remotely celebrate these students who cannot be together to celebrate?  What can we do to help them know how very special they are and how much they mean to us?  How can we reassure them that life will be normal again?   I am thinking about that and know many others are as well.

My prayer is that we can continue to support one another, that we can lift one another up, that we can make plans to help our students and our communities, and that we can practice kindness and unity that is distant but together.  And, that we always, always love.

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia

Hello and Happy Easter!  He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia!

Here are the lyrics of one of my favorite hymns, “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” —

“Jesus Christ is risen today Alleluia
Our triumphant holy day Alleluia
Who did once upon the cross Alleluia
Suffer to redeem our loss Alleluia

Hymns of praise then let us sing Alleluia
Unto Christ our heavenly king Alleluia
Who endured the cross and grave Alleluia
Sinners to redeem and save Alleluia

But the pains which he endured Alleluia
Our salvation have procured Alleluia
Now above the sky he’s king Alleluia
Where the angels ever sing Alleluia

Sing we to our God above Alleluia
Praise eternal as his love Alleluia
Praise him, all you heavenly host Alleluia
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost Alleluia Alleluia”

And, here are the words of a more contemporary song — “In Christ Alone” by Adrienne Camp

“In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me…”

May these words having meaning of all that Christ did for us so that we might live.

May you be blessed and comforted on this Holy day.  May you celebrate remotely with loved ones.

May you remember to always, always love.

Good Friday Thoughts & A Prayer

Today is the day in our church calendar when we remember the crucifixion of our Lord.  This is the day that He was killed on a cross so that we might live.  I have often thought that the name Good Friday is an odd choice for what happened on this day so many years ago.  It was good for us but very bad for Him.

He suffered and was in massive pain, such that I cannot imagine.  He was ridiculed and found guilty of crimes He did not commit, and then was punished for them.  After last night’s Last Supper with his disciples, he was betrayed and then beaten.

Now, many of us are in major pain and have lots of worries.  Like us, he suffered the not knowing, the begging for the bad things to pass by Him, and wondering why it had to happen to Him.  In fact, He asked for the cup to pass Him by.  However, it did not.

I am not sure if that comforts you, but it does me. To know that the Lord who has helped me through so much, also suffered, lost loved ones, and was betrayed is amazing.  He knows how I feel and He knows how you feel.  He has been through it all and has promised to be there with us.

As He was dying he uttered seven statements that showed some about the loving man that He was.  He still had compassion for those who were persecuting him.  He was concerned about His mother and His disciples.  He also had to deal with physical pain and suffering.

Our church remembers these in the Good Friday services that we will miss sharing with others this year.  Still the meaning is there.

  • “My God, My God, why hast though forsaken me?”
  • “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
  • “I tell you the truth that today you will be with me in paradise.”
  • “Woman, behold your son. Behold your mother.”
  • “I thirst.”
  • “It is finished.”
  • “Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit.”

This man laid down His life for us and then in three days conquered death and the grave.  I hope that can be a comfort and a blessing to you and your loved ones.  It is to me.  Still, there is so much suffering and that is very hard to deal with.  We try and we pray and we hope.

This morning we watched an interview of John Meacham by Stephen Colbert.  Meacham is an amazing historical writer.  He has a new book about Jesus and these last 7 words.  It is called “Hope of Glory.”  Sounds like one that I want to read.

During this interview, Meacham mentioned that this Easter will be more like it was at the first Easter.  He mentioned that the disciples were in hiding and that those of the early church would meet in their homes.  So, we can remember how that must have been since most of us will be home to celebrate this Easter morning.

This meant a lot to me. To think back to those times and what Jesus and His disciples and followers must have felt will be good.  Ian and I both enjoyed that interview very much.

A prayer for this Good Friday:

“Dear Lord, please watch over your flock who are suffering.  May we remember that you are here with us through this hard time. You will not forsake us, although it may feel that way at times.

“May we remember that third day when your son rose from the dead and conquered death so we would have eternal life.

“May we remember those who are essential employees who are in harm’s way.  Please watch over them and keep them and their families safe.

“May we remember those who are at home and trying to adjust to this new way of life. Please help us in the trying days to stay strong and at a distance in order to protect our loved ones.

“May we reach out to those we care about via emails, online chats, and phone calls.  May we bear one another’s burdens by being there remotely for each other.

“May we keep those students in mind whose lives have been upended so much. Please help us work together to help them learn and to be safe.  To our seniors this year, we feel for you.  May you know how special you are and how loved.  May we be able to celebrate soon.

“May we remember those who have lost loved ones due to this virus and other causes as well.  Lord, please give them comfort in their loss. Please be with them throughout their grief.

“May we remember that Sunday is on the way and that what happened today is not the end of the story.  May we remember that Your rising can give us hope.  May we also remember to always, always love.

“In Your holy name, Amen”.