Halfway through packing for their pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the Temple and its sacrifice, the covenant and its blood, Joseph is distracted by the keening of the child. He had never noticed before how like grief a baby’s cry could be – wailing for the womb, mourning the waters from which it was drawn out and adopted into the world.
The remembrance of my fear, trembling, and faith as I witnessed whatever was going on in the air that night sustains me through this season, whose decorations do not entertain me, I am sorry to say. I am not so far removed from death, decay, and demons that I need the Hallowe’en décor to remind me that they exist. I turn away from the tombstones and their terrible puns.
I stood in my cardigan and stole behind a small, low altar, clinging obstinately to that other creed, the science that says that outdoor air is more effective at interrupting the spread of a pandemic virus than indoor seating allows as we circulated Word and Sacrament.
Fire and flood, storm and pestilence, murder, strife, and rumours of strife surround us. We wonder, often and aloud, what will come of it, what will be our “new normal,” when this is “all over;” we look forward to the restoration of our fortunes, to our recovery. But we know, from our place in the cold ashes next to Job and his old friends, that whatever comes next, there is much that will not be undone.
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