“I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down towards your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything. On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.” -Psalm 138: 1-3
Sunday felt a bit like Christmas morning. Our acolytes and choir were in procession. We sang all verses of St. Patrick’s Breastplate without flagging a bit. We had communion at the altar rail and sat where we wanted. The outdoor service was also a holy gathering, being with people we hadn’t seen since the start of the pandemic. I am by nature an optimistic person. I have articulated hope this past year and meant every word. But something is shifting. I am moving into an embodied state of joy. I feel in every fiber of my being we will come through this with gratitude and faithfulness.
I love the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - a favorite to read aloud while on silent retreats at my beloved Green Bough House of Prayer. In the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, people start seeing signs of the end of the great winter. Beginning with a thaw, Christmas starts to be celebrated, and people whisper in wonder, “Aslan is on the move.” Aslan is the Christ figure and a mighty lion. When Mr. and Mrs. Beaver speak to Susan and Lucy, who found themselves unexpectedly in Narnia, they wonder whether Aslan is a “safe” lion. Their reply is, “Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”
We have drawn deep from the wells of our faith in these months. Our mortality and frailty have been front and center. We have not been comfortable, but we have been accompanied by our God and promised even when we have not felt safe, that God’s goodness has never been in doubt. As we emerge, I hope we take stock and give thanks for so many good things that perhaps we took for granted. I give thanks for the strength of our hymnody, the joy of worshipping together, the promise of reunions with loved ones, and the God who is always good, even when I’m taken to places I never could have imagined.
Aslan is on the move! Thanks be to God!