I am tempted to beat a personal retreat, to bury my face in the sand, to tune out the world and its burden of grief and its hard, triumphant moments of ill-timed joy. To let my prayer be that of Elijah beneath the broom tree: “What’s the point?”
It does get overwhelming.
And yet, regardless of the state of the world, the state of the laundry, the state of the soul, not to mention the body, still less the spirit, for as long as it goes on,
life goes on.
And while it does, and while I have breath, and even sometimes when I don’t, the commandment remains: Love God. Love your neighbour as yourself.
When faith, hope, and so much more lie exhausted, love continues to provoke and to persist:
“Many waters cannot quench love;” rivers of tears cannot erode its foundation nor wash it away,
for God is love.
God is love that lifts the hairs on the back of the neck. God is the love that catches its breath with hope and anxiety and empathy. God is love, compassion that lies alongside the darkness, waiting for the world to turn. God is love, mercy that knows the shape of a broken heart and how to hold it just so, patiently and for as long as it takes for the scars to form.
When we love, we live in the image of God.
And life goes on.
Episcopal Migration Ministries and Episcopal Relief & Development offer ways to put love into material form, particularly for the people recovering from earthquake and its aftermath in Haiti and for those fleeing Afghanistan.
The Revd Rosalind C Hughes is the Rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Euclid, Ohio, and author of Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent questions for Christians in an age of violence (July 2021), and A Family Like Mine: biblical stories of love, loss, and longing. Read more from Rosalind at rosalindchughes.com.