Rain and Tears

by Christine Sine

by Christine Sine

It’s a very bleak autumn day in Seattle with the rain falling hard outside. As I sat here this morning my heart aching for the horrors of war now in the Middle East as well as Ukraine, and my soul bleeding for the First Australians who faced a No vote at the recent referendum that would have given them a voice for decisions about their own future. My tears welled up and flowed like the raindrops outside.

My grief seemed so fitting after my Meditation Monday: When Grief and Gratitude Come Together, in which I wrote “We cannot talk about gratitude without also talking about grief. We cannot develop effective rituals for expressing gratitude without creating equally powerful rituals for processing grief.” In response to my reflections this morning, I adapted one of the prayers in yesterday’s post. You can find it at the bottom of this email. This was also a big part of the Season of Gratitude retreat on Saturday, and much appreciated by participants. For all of us, grief and gratitude are intimately intertwined at the moment. Make sure that you give expression to both. There is one more retreat in this series A Quiet Advent retreat on December 9th. If you regret not signing up for all three retreats, please feel free to register for these and we will send you the recordings of the two you missed.

Lilly Lewin’s Freerange Friday: God Holds Our Tears portrays another way to express our lament, using a pitcher of water to represent our tears. It is a powerful but simple ritual that I think many of you will find very effective.

Looking ahead on the church calendar, there are many other opportunities for us to find the balance between grief and gratitude. I heartily recommend planning a celebration for All Saints’ Day or Day of the Dead coming up at the beginning of November. You might like to balance it with a Halloween practice that focuses on ways to make this a greener, more sustainable event. Or work with others in your church to plan a Blue Christmas Service and provide an opportunity for everyone to express the grief that so often balances hope and joy at Christmas time. This is an increasingly popular Advent practice that I heartily recommend to everyone.

I loved Jeannie Kendall’s post for World Sight Day, The Importance of Seeing. She mentioned that her own glaucoma is easily kept under control with drops, in contrast to the many sufferers I saw during my years on the M/V Anastasis who had no access to this simple treatment. June Friesen in What Do You See, What Do You Hear? challenges us to prepare for for a heart to heart encounter with Jesus. Her other post Windows of Hope had me looking for “windows” in the patchy sky above. I loved her suggestion that sometimes we see clearly and at others our vision is cloudy.

One thing that came out of the retreat on Saturday, was the desire of participants for me to hold more such retreats on a regular basis. In response to this demand, I plan to launch another series of 3 retreats for the Spring next year. Please pray that this will come together easily. If you have suggestions of specific topics that you would like to see covered in these retreats, please let me know.

I am also hoping to launch my podcast The Liturgical Rebel at the beginning of 2024. It will focus not on deconstructing Faith but on reconstructing. We need help to reshape our faith so that it is effective in today’s world and I am excited about the ways that this podcast might assist us in doing that. I appreciate your prayers as we work out the details.

You may like to sit for a couple of minutes after reading this email and consider the places in which you also experience grief that has not been fully processed.

The rain is falling,
Great big tear-like drops that wrench at my heart.
How often our tears are closer than praise.
Yet God’s love still surrounds us,
Jesus still comforts us,
The Spirit still dwells within.
When tears are closer than praise,
Let us sit and welcome them into our souls.
May they foster compassion,
Inspire love,
Give birth to peace.
Our trust is in you, O Eternal One,
We put our hope in your transforming love,
And wait for you to wash away tears
From all the peoples of  the earth.

~Christine Sine, 2021


Join Christine Sine as she leads a morning of scripture reading and quiet reflection that will be for many of us a much needed oasis of quiet in the midst of this chaotic season.

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