31 Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’
– Luke 15:31-32
In the Broadway musical Come From Away – the musical that captures the story of airline passengers stranded in Gander, Newfoundland in the wake of September 11th — the “finale” number takes place ten years later, as passengers return to celebrate the tenth anniversary of that life-changing experience. In that song, one the characters, Claude, reflects: “Tonight, we honor what was lost… but we also commemorate what we found.”
Tragedies don’t fit in a box, do they? They are a complicated combination of experiences. There are losses, for sure… losses upon losses, too many perhaps to even count. But at times, there are blessings to be found. It’s no coincidence, I think, that in ancient Hebrew, the word for “curse” and the word for “blessing” are the very same word. We’ve all known moments that are a combination of both. I’d argue that we’re living through one right now.
In the midst of great difficulties, and in the time that follows, we can honor what was lost… while also commemorating and appreciating what has been found. I’m finding these words from my favorite musical are striking me in a new way in this season of coronavirus. There has been so much loss, too much loss… but in my better, more hopeful moments, I also find myself celebrating what I’ve found. More dinners around the table with my family. More moments to hear my children pray. More intentional opportunities to connect with extended family. More creative ways to connect with all of you. More certainty in the power of community. More awe at the goodness and selflessness of human beings. While I never want to cheapen or dismiss the gravity of what has been lost… I also don’t want to miss the opportunity to celebrate what has been found.
I hope you’ll take some time, in this season of coronavirus, to honor what you or your loved ones have lost… but I also hope you’ll take some time to reflect on (and share) what you’ve found.
There are blessings there, I’m sure of it. After all:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
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