Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ezra 3: Celebration and Mourning

From Garden to City reading:  Ezra 3:10-13

No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.  Ezra 3:13

We all respond differently to the same events. 

When my dad died, I mourned our relationship, which had been awkward since my teenage years.  I wished I could go back and do things differently.  I stopped blaming myself and understood that my dad bore some responsibility for lost opportunities.  Strangely enough, that recognition made me love my dad more because it made us kindred spirits.  We both struggle with relationships.  I think we could have talked about that if we had recognized it at the time.  

I celebrated my dad's escape from a body that just wouldn't cooperate with his mind anymore.  Death liberated my dad from diabetes, tremors, inability to speak clearly, and deep sadness over all these things.  Now my dad can eat chocolate fudge, play the trombone, and tell stories.   No more limitations.  

I felt deep sadness for my mother.  I can't imagine the loss of a life-long partner.  No, I can imagine it.  And I don't like it.  

My brothers, my sisters, my mother, my uncle, the grandchildren, we all felt and thought different things when my daddy died.  Every story can be told a little differently.  But we were fairly quiet.

We're Americans.  
We come from a long line of Presbyterians.
And we don't mourn or celebrate loudly.  

But if we had, Daddy's funeral would have been loud, with weeping and wailing, mixed with sounds of celebration for my dad's trip to heaven.

When the builders complete the foundation to the temple, all the priests and the people gather together to praise the Lord--in the manner of King David.  And with praise and thanksgiving, they sand, "God is good--his love endures forever."  And all the people gave a shout.  And there were sounds of mourning for repentance, for what had been lost, and what could have been.   And there were sounds of joy, for what was coming, what God would do, what their lives would be like.

But they all worshiped God. 
And no one could tell the mourning from the shouts of joy because of all the noise.
And the sound was heard far away.

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