“Our world today needs weeping. The marginalized weep, those who are neglected weep, the scorned weep, but those of us who have relatively comfortable life, we don’t know how to weep. Certain realities of life are seen only with eyes that are cleansed by tears. I ask each one of you to ask: Can I weep?”
Pope Francis

“God weeps with us so that we may one day laugh with him.”
–Jürgen Moltmann

Mourning March

Today, Holy Saturday, is a day of lamentation, of weeping. In the Orthodox tradition there is a series of laments that are sung every year for this space between remembering the death of Jesus and announcing his resurrection once again. A portion of it reads:

“Woe is me!” the Virgin mourned through heart-breaking sobs.
“Thou art, Jesus, my most precious, beloved Son!
Gone is my light, and the Light of all the world!” 
“Who will give me water, a fountain of tears,”
cried the Virgin Bride of God in her deep despair,
“that in grief for my sweet Jesus I might weep?”


These imagined words of a grieving mother remind us that at the center of our faith there occurs a death. Not only the redemptive suffering of Jesus as a theological concept, but the death of a son, a friend, a beloved one. Jesus was loved by his followers and friends, by his mother and his family. And this person was ripped from their lives leaving a gaping hole of consuming absence.

For this reason, our faith has everything in the world to say to those who have had their world turned upside-down by death, to people who break down sobbing while waiting at a traffic light, remembering for the thousandth time that their child will never again return their gaze with a smile.

This is why, on this Holy Saturday, we gathered with other Christians from the St. Louis region to mourn together. We gathered to remember those who have been killed by violence of every kind in our city. We came to express the raw sorrow these absences have brought into our communities. Together, we decried the division of our community and the hopelessness that engulfs one side of that division. We gathered to listen to each other’s pain and to carry each other in prayer. We gathered together to cry. And to confess that we do not cry as we should.

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We left cleanse by tears and strengthened by one another’s presence, but still in mourning. We left still in darkness.

For we know the story. We know that it is only to those who are in darkness that a great light shines; it is only those who mourn who shall be comforted; it is only those whose cheeks are drenched with tears that have them wiped away by God himself.

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