Wednesday Word: Revealed Glory
Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. – Collect for Wednesday in Holy Week
I don't know about you, but this Collect has taken on a whole new meaning after the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In previous years this Collect seemed to be more personal. Personal sufferings of jobs, family life, and other events could always be spun as individual events or crises that, if I worked hard enough, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. If I thought about a situation in just the right way, I could see a possible glorious outcome.
But the pandemic has seemed to raise questions about that. Where is the revealed glory in a disease that requires us to lock ourselves away? Where is the revealed glory in a disease that has killed hundreds of thousands of people? Where is the revealed glory for families who have had to stand by helplessly as loved ones died in quarantine and alone? Where is the revealed glory for those people of faith who have had to receive last rites over the phone?
Suffering for a righteous cause is one thing. Suffering simply to suffer is something else entirely.
And to be honest, I don't have the answers to any of the above questions. But if I look, I can point to revealed glory in the suffering.
A disease that forced us to lock ourselves away may have revealed the glory of rediscovering family quirks and interests. A disease that has killed hundreds of thousands of people may have revealed the glory of understanding how precious life is. A revealed glory for those who have had loved ones die alone might be to understand and give thanks for the health care workers who stood by their side.
None of this is perfect. Sometimes I feel that this falls into the area of cheap platitudes. But through it all, I hold fast to the recognition that there is no Easter without Good Friday and to the blessed hope of resurrection.
However you have dealt with the previous year, however you are dealing with the current year, may you find hope and strength in the power and promise of resurrection.