Mourning-song.

[For Toni.]

=====

we exiles walk head-bowed
through the valley of shadows
as the darkness stalks around the edges
(ancient serpents with Latin names)
and our tears fall like spring rains.
we mourn our losses and keep marching
at the command of life and duty,
wiping eyes with shirt sleeves and sighing.

how long, oh Lord, will we bear the scars of
the bitter fruit’s destruction, planting loved ones
in the earth like seeds, awaiting
Your eternal spring?

we are the people of the royal priesthood
we hold our calling and election sure
we know we are held by He who calls us
and none pluck us from His hand.
but lo, we feel the scratching claws
of despair, scraping against our backs,
digging into our weary chests.
we are hard-pressed on every side.
we are not crushed–but some days
we strain for breath.

hold us, merciful Father, when
we have no strength to hold onto You.
be merciful, Almighty, carry us,
for we Your children are stumbling around
the blind corners of this valley deep,
and on days of bitter sadness we forget
when we first beheld the sun.

and yet.
rising from Your wounded children,
a song borne on trembling voices:

our King is coming, bloody, triumphant
and He will vanquish His foes
and He will raise up His people from their beds
and He will restore all things.
His faithfulness is everlasting
He will not abandon His people
He will restore what has been stolen
He will redeem what has been broken
for He is good, and His goodness is everlasting.

we will wait for the Lord.
we will be strong,
our hearts will take courage,
and we will wait for the Lord.

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