There are more than a few hymns that make me cry.
“I want to walk as a child of the light” makes me cry because we sang it at Ellen and my wedding.
“I am the bread of life” makes me cry because of the power of the theology, and I always think of my friend Emily, Henry’s godmother, who, while she is a very respectable Episcopalian 99.9% of the time, “I am the bread of life” causes her to raise her hands in praise to God – “and I will raise them up, and I will raise them up, and I will raise them up on the last day.”
“Jesus Christ is Risen Today” made me cry this morning because I so long to sing in worship again. I pray we will again soon.
“The Servant Song” makes me cry because of our beautiful Agape Meal and the transcendent way we share that song as a parish family.
And finally, although this list is certainly not exhaustive, “What Wondrous Love Is This,” a hymn we sing every Lent and Holy Week makes me cry because of the simple profundity of the stanzas, “What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul! What wondrous love is this, O my soul! What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss to lay aside his crown for my soul, for my soul, to lay aside his crown for my soul.”
The miraculous grace of Christ’s incarnation, ministry, passion, and resurrection is truly a wonder. Scholars, preachers, sisters, and brothers have tried, since Mary was visited by the Angel, to understand what Jesus’ existence fully means. It means we are loved, it means we are called, it means we should repent, it means we are forgiven, it means we are responsible, it means we aren’t in this alone, it means we will be transformed, and on and on and on. And so we wonder. Actually, to precariously paraphrase Zepplin, the glory of Christ “makes me wonder.”
But, while contemplating all of these pieces of music that touch my heart, I am also reminded of the “Exsultet,” that ancient and wonderful proclamation I had the honor to chant Saturday night. One phrase stands out, “How wonderful and beyond our knowing, O God, is your mercy and loving-kindness to us.”
Wonderful AND beyond our knowing. As humans, we wonder about a lot of things. How do things work? How should we best interact with each other? How should we solve our most difficult problems? All worthy and necessary pursuits.
But, as we enter the season of Easter, I am wondering if I should stop wondering and just be for a while. Acknowledge that some things are beyond, and so we should just be: be with family, be with friends, be with sisters and brothers of parish, or just be.
There is plenty of time to wonder. But perhaps a gift of the Resurrection is that God did the heavy lifting and we are blessed to abide in that grace. Challenges, projects, injustices, and so much more demand our best efforts. And we will meet all of them to the best of our ability. But for now, on this Easter afternoon, I might just be for a moment or two.
What wondrous love this is. AMEN.