Read Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26.
My neighbor stands on her porch. I remain four cubits back on the sidewalk. Through our masks we lift up our joys and concerns.
She wraps her arms around herself, rubbing the skin up and down. My soul is glad for her friendship and I imagine her gesture is the hug we eschew.
I stand at the kitchen sink. Her son is in their garden, a blur of blonde curls. He swings a stick like a sword or a lightsaber or maybe a baton or a sceptre. He sings.
My own Advent child bakes cake for every occasion. Monday is an occasion. We sing songs of joy to the dog, who waits patiently for drips of batter to fall.
At the dinner table, our daughter describes someone as Very Religious. We, I tell her, are Very Religious. No, her eyes roll, like religious religious. Like hating everything.
We cling to kindness. We sort canned food. Students show me TikToks and softly tell me of lost jobs and sick grandparents. They pray over FaceTime. Nurses hover.
I dream they are all babies and I cannot get them all where we need to be. Night after night this dream arrives. Unrelenting.
Songs are our second language. We speak divinity. In our songs we swing our faith through the sky. Our mouths proclaim joy. We eat cake. We sing. We wait.
You take our pain and give back joy. You call us to create family and memory.
Help us treasure your faithfulness.
Encourage us to respond with boldness and exultation.
In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Rev. Dr. Alexandra M. Hendrickson
College Chaplain and Director of Religious & Spiritual Life
Lafayette College (Easton, PA)