The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; He guideth me in straight paths for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Yesterday, my dear friend Erika asked me what my spirit animal is.
And since I am Native American, I figured I should try to find out.
The only animal I’ve ever really been called is songbird, so I googled “bird spirit animals” and came upon a whole world I’ve never delved into until now.
I read the description of the canary and realized that it fits exactly who I’ve always been, someone who cannot live without the healing power of song.
It is good Friday, and Lent is coming to an end to make way for Easter, to make way for fifty (and more) days of celebration and newness of life.
Tonight many of us will gather in sanctuaries and homes and basements and remember what it means, remember why the body and the blood is so important, even today.
We sing a mourning song.
We sit in ashes.
We remember that we are flesh as well as spirit,
that we are bound to brokenness a little while longer before the dawn breaks.
When my Grandmother died, I sang at her funeral.
And it was an odd space to inhabit, because I was so sad, so mournful, so sure that the world would miss her presence.
But I looked out at my family, all of us back together for a reunion to celebrate Pauline’s life, and I was so thankful to be there,
to sing for her, to my family, to remember and celebrate a legacy.
I don’t know who sang over the tomb where they laid Jesus.
I don’t know who prayed over those oils and herbs, who placed hands on the cloth covering his wounds to say a prayer as he continued to pass deeper into death.
But I’m sure there was mourning.
I’m sure there were eulogies being written and stories being told and tears, tears, tears being shed.
But today, we know more of the story.
So we can close our eyes and picture that tomb in the dark.
But let’s also hear the voices.
While we are here, let’s remember those songs.
We read them out loud, we sing them with our own melody, in case we don’t know the original one.
We gather with people we love and remember that death came so that life could.
I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, that he may hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; my hand is stretched out in the night, and does not rest; my soul refuses to be comforted.
I remember God, and I moan; I meditate and my spirit faints. Selah.
You hold my eyelids from closing; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old, the years of ancient times.
I remember my melody in the night; I talk with my heart; and my spirit searches.
Will the Lord cast off for ever? And will he be favorable no more?
Has his loving kindness ceased for ever? Does his promise fail for evermore?
Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.
And I said, It is my sickness that the right hand of the Most High has changed.
I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
And I will meditate on all Your work, and muse on Your deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy. Who is so great a God as our God?
You are the God that does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the people.
With Your arm You have redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.
The waters saw You, O God, the waters saw You; they were afraid; the depths also trembled.
The clouds poured out water; the skies sent out a sound; Your arrows flashed on every side.
The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; the lightnings lightened the world; the earth trembled and shook.
Your way was through the sea, and Your path through the great waters; and Your footsteps were not known.
You led Your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.