Glimpses of the Divine in the Mundane

It’s been awhile since I’ve written. In the wake of the Connecticut shootings a few weeks ago, I had to take a hiatus from writing, from busyness, from just “noise” in general.  After some of the rush of the holidays, I feel I’m ready to put my thoughts back out there.  I just had to take a few weeks of “silence”.  Here’s a piece of what has been brewing within me:

It’s time to stop.  To shut up. To be silent. For the only sound to be a breath, a wail, a prayer.   To stop the chattering and rushing and debating.  It’s time to mourn.  When was the last time we had a day of mourning as a nation?  As a world? As a human being?  It’s time to stop the talk about politics for a moment.  It’s time to set aside our personal agendas for a day.  It’s time to look each other in the eye and feel the pain that is our world. It’s time to grieve.

We have a day to vote.  We have holidays to celebrate.  We have days off from work where businesses are closed.  But have we ever taken a day to be silent and to cry, to mourn?  Have we ever been given permission to remember that we are all human, and therefore all sacred, and to mourn the loss of tragedy that is happening around us?

As I pause from my usual routine of busy planning, of writing, of social interactions, of teaching, and I look into the face of grief, it can feel overwhelming.  But I also feel human again.  I feel the huge temptation to distract myself from the agony of mourning, and numb the pain that it carries: to watch a movie, to get more busy with work, to try to fix the situation, to sleep, to debate, to travel, and the list could go on.  None of these things are bad in and of themselves, but when I use them to replace and medicate what my soul really needs (which sometimes is to mourn), I begin to stop being human.  When was the last time we mourned – as a nation? As a world? As a human being?


There was something curious Jesus once said.  He said,

 “To what can I compare this generation? It is like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends,

‘We played wedding songs,
and you didn’t dance,
so we played funeral songs,
and you didn’t mourn.’”

-Matthew 11:16, 17

The generation back in Jesus’ day seemed to be in the same place we are today: sitting back and critiquing life as if it were a game, and not actually taking time to live life, be it celebration or mourning.  We seem to have celebration down.  But when was the last time we mourned?  And it seems the more we don’t mourn, the more we see evil playing out around us.  Could it be that the more we don’t mourn, the more angry we become?  And when we don’t mourn, especially for others, we disassociate ourselves from the human race, and we don’t feel the need to do anything to stop the suffering in the world.  We begin to become robots that buy and sell, numb ourselves with entertainment and activity, filling our world with more noise to drown out the sound of wailing and tears within our hearts.  But perhaps what we really need is to take time to mourn.

In Ecclesiastes 3 we’re reminded that there is a time for everything.  Verse 4 says,

A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.

When was the last time we took time to grieve and to cry?  We take time to laugh and dance, which is good.  But we also must take time to cry and grieve.  And it’s never convenient. It’s not fun. But from what I am understanding, it is a must to heal.  If we want to come to resolutions that will truly change the world, we must take time to mourn.  If we want to understand the heart of the Divine, the heart of God, we must take time to grieve. If we want to honor what it means to be human, we have to take time to weep, to wail, to mourn.  For it is in those sacred moments that we remember that we are all connected and when one person grieves, we all feel it.  Because we were not created to hate, we were created to love.  We were not created to die, we were created to live and help others live well.  Grieving reminds us of these truths.

To mourn.  To look suffering straight in the eyes and really see it.  And to do this well, in my opinion, means there are no words used.  And there aren’t any words.  Think of the horrific things that have happened and are still happening.  There are no words, because these things were not meant to happen.  These things require silence and mourning.  To sit with the pain, the grief, the agony.  Usually when people try to say things in these situations, it never comes out right.  Because perhaps the thing to do first is to be silent and mourn.  Grief doesn’t need words – it needs to be held.  This is what mourning is.  There will come a time for words, for debates, for resolution.  But first, mourning is the most sacred thing to do.  Once silence is felt, usually the words will emerge.


Speaking of words in times of mourning, there is a beautiful prayer known as the Jesus Prayer, that says, “Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.”  It is thought traditionally to be the unceasing prayer of the saints, and perhaps, of all humanity.  Many traditions have taken this prayer and inserted different lines between this main phrase, to help the person praying it to be more directive with circumstances happening in life and the world.  I took the liberty to add my own lines to this prayer.  Feel free to add yours. After each stanza, you say the refrain, which is “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Us.”  May this prayer help be a vehicle to carry our grief, and ultimately release it in the arms of God, the Great Healer.

Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Us:

– For our tendency to be too busy, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Us.

– For our tenacity in simply medicate our pain, instead of finding true healing, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Us.

– For the beautiful souls lost on December 14 in the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, ………..

– For the parents left with empty arms, empty beds, and broken hearts, …………………………….

– For those suffering from the inner torture of mental health issues, …………………………………

– For our need to satiate our lust for buying and selling, but neglecting our fellowman, …………………………………….

– For our time and money consumed in entertainment, while the realities of the world remain untouched, …………………………..

– For neglecting the poor within our reach, including ourselves, ………………………………………….

– For filling our world with more noise, instead of peace, …………………………………………..

– For debating issues for the sake of pride and promoting our own agenda, …………………………………………….

– For putting chains upon each other based on gender, race, social class, political affiliation, religion, and other man-made statuses, …..

– For using You, God, as the reason and source of our bigoted views, therefore using Your name in vain, …………………………………

– For our fear of being uncomfortable and getting involved to help end suffering, ………………………………………

– For raising our voices to share our opinions, but closing our hearts from getting involved, ………………………

And the prayer never ends, does it?  This is just the beginning. Join your voice with mine…

Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Us…

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