This virus summer, I cleaned out my Mom’s empty house in Manchester Maryland. In sorting all the old stuff, it was not difficult to find stories that resonated with our times and with the Psalm reading:
“Weeping may remain for a night but rejoicing comes in the morning”.
My grandmother’s letter regretting that she was not strong enough from her tuberculosis to make my parent’s November wedding but had her hopes set on making it home at Christmas. I find joy in that, with God’s help, medicine has advanced so we no long treat serious diseases with sessions of sitting outside in winter breathing the cold mountain air.
I find joy in Mom’s face when she recalled that at Christmas the church gave each child a box of candy – four hard candies and one chocolate. She rejoiced that at fourteen she could leave an always-hungry home and work in exchange for room and board caring for disabled children.
Finally, I got a chance again to see my home church, Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran founded in 1760. They laid a cornerstone for a new sanctuary in 1862, working through 1863. Imagine the trepidation of the builders when in July of 1863 they could hear the cannons from nearby Gettysburg. While the echoes of those hard days continue, in faith the congregation finished in October of that year and minister to this day.
I find joy that God comforts us through our difficulties, provides a strong faith community, and bathes us in hope for the future.