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Lament and hope

Light for the Way seriesWe invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.

By Chaplain Jenny Schroedel, Optage Hospice
“This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  — Lamentations 3:20-23, NIV

Summer is upon us with intense heat and a frenzy of activity. Across our Presbyterian Homes communities, bit by bit, life returns as residents gather in groups and activities resume: movies, pontoon trips, cribbage, gardening. What a relief to see all the smiles as the masks come off.
Even so, we may find ourselves at a bit of a crossroads as we begin to move forward while glancing back. The short, poetic, mournful Book of Lamentations shines a light on this normal human experience of deep anguish.
Lamentations is often considered "The Wailing Wall" of the Bible. Here, the Prophet Jeremiah pours out his grief for Jerusalem which has fallen to Babylon. He weeps for the starving children, the wounded men in the streets, the lonely desolation. He weeps for all that was and is no more.
But Jeremiah also shows us that hope grows stronger in the hidden places of our lives and waits for us to call upon it. After weeping all night, Jeremiah finds his way back to hope, reflecting on the endlessness of God’s love and the fresh mercy that meets us in the morning.

He also reminds us that we can carry things that may seem incompatible: heartache and hope, grief and gratitude, loss and possibility. In his book titled A Room Called Remember, Presbyterian minister Frederick Buechner reflects on the power of remembrance: "to remember the past is to see that we are here today by grace, that we have survived as a gift."
As this day begins, take a moment to reflect on something that you would like to carry with you: it could be a word, a memory or a stabilizing belief. Remember that hope gains muscle in the struggle. We have come through a long dark night into this present morning. May fresh mercy meet us here.

Chaplain Jenny SchroedelOptage Hospice Chaplain Jenny Schroedel facilitates grief groups across PHS sites and in the larger community. She lived in Hawaii for a decade, before returning home to Minnesota. In Hawaii she worked as Director of Bereavement Services and helped found Hospice of Kona’s Maluihi Grief Center. Jenny is also an author, most recently of Naming The Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death

The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.

You might also be interested in:
Wrestling with God until the dawn of blessing
Open a door to hope through the power of remembrance
Take heart: God's love cannot be defeated
Learn more about Christian ministry at Presbyterian Homes & Services

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