One of the first expressions of covenant promise in scripture comes when God calls Abraham and Sarah to set off on the journey to a foreign land, where they will settle and begin new life. God charges and promises: “Go from your country and your kindred and your family plot to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation. And I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be blessing.” (Genesis 12:1-2) Now we journey through what seems like a foreign land of COVID-time and consequences. We miss being together inside the sanctuary behind this stone walls. We miss the blooms of love and laughter we share when we’re together. Amid the absences and loss we feel, may we all remember God’s promise to be with us, and so find ways to share blessing with others. Here is a blessing written by John O’Donahue which may speak to our experience in this moment.
May you know that absence is alive with hidden presence, that nothing is ever lost or forgotten.
May the absences in your life grow full of eternal echo.
May you sense around you the secret Elsewhere where the presences that have left you dwell.
May you be generous in your embrace of loss.
May the sore well of grief turn into a seamless flow of presence.
May your compassion reach out to the ones we never hear from.
May you have the courage to speak for the excluded ones.
May you become the gracious and passionate subject of your own life.
May you not disrespect your mystery through brittle words or false belonging.
May you be embraced by God in whom dawn and twilight are one.
May your longing inhabit its dreams within the Great Belonging.
From John O’Donahue, To Bless the Space Between Us, (New York: Doubleday, 2008), 45-46)
Grace and Peace,