The Stars In Our Sky


The other day, I was introduced to a poem by Ann Weems that I have been reading and re-reading ever since.

It feels like a good one to share during this season of Easter because it speaks to the divine rhythm of dying and rising that was dramatically and incredibly embodied in the Resurrection of Jesus. 

But there's more to this poem because it begins with the grief that comes with significant loss.  

It starts with John chapter 11, where Jesus weeps over the death of his friend Lazarus just before Lazarus walks out of his tomb, wrapped in burial clothes. 

Jesus wept,  
              and in his weeping, 
              he joined himself forever 
              to those who mourn.
       He stands now throughout all time,  
               this Jesus weeping, 
               with his arms about the weeping ones: 
       “Blessed are those who mourn,  
              for they shall be comforted.” 
            He stands with the mourners, 
                   for his name is God-with-us. 

Jesus wept. 
“Blessed are those who weep, for they shall be comforted.”                 Someday.  
Someday God will wipe the tears from Rachel’s eyes. 
               In the godforsaken, obscene quicksand of life,  
                          there is a deafening alleluia 
                          rising from the souls  
                          of those who weep, 
                          and of those who weep with those who                              weep. 
                          If you watch, you will see 
                          the hand of God 
                          putting the stars back in their skies 
                          one by one.  

I don't know about you, but that poem speaks to me now.  I've been coming to grips with the reality of grief and how all our griefs and losses are connected.  

When our grief over a loss returns, it reminds us of all the losses that have come before it and all those that have happened since.  It also gives us a sense that grief is ongoing with its restorative but often awful work.  

And we are also confronted with the reality that there will be more losses to grieve as we keep journeying through life.  

But throughout all our griefs and losses, we have this image of a weeping Savior to sustain us.  Because Jesus wept, we know that God fully understands what we feel during our grief over what or who has been lost to us. 

And we also know that whatever weeping we may do is like a prayer to that same God who is constantly at work "putting the stars back" in our skies. 

The last line is what gets me, though.  " by one."  

The light returns slowly to us when we feel the darkness of loss.  The stars get put back into place over time, and we often don't fully recognize they are there until we finally look up and see them all twinkling above us. 

And some of the constellations that we see are different.  

Because when you find your way through grief, you end up in a different place, more often than not.  In those new hemispheres, our view of the sky has shifted enough for us to see new lights to guide us home.  

May you rest in the hope of this today and every day.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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