Blessed be the Lord! For he has shown me the wonders of his love in a besieged city

My dear friends,

The other day, as we were praying Morning Prayer, my attention was arrested by a line from the psalm: Blessed be the Lord! For he has shown me the wonders of his love in a besieged city (Psalm 31:21).

It has now been a year since we Brothers made the impossible decision to close both the Guesthouse and the Chapel. In these last twelve months, it has often felt we were living in a besieged city, as we all went into lockdown, emerging only briefly to accomplish necessary tasks. Many of us have seen family and friends only at a distance, or on Zoom. Some whom we have known and loved are counted among the 500,000 in this country alone, who have died because of the virus. Others have died, not from the virus, but alone and isolated none the less. Harvard Square, like many places around the world, now contains empty storefronts where there were once thriving businesses.

In twelve months, many things have changed, and it will take years for us to recover from the sense of loss and grief – not to mention the political, economic, and social fallout which the pandemic has caused. We have truly been living in a besieged city.

While some things have changed, and changed drastically, others have remained constant. One of those constants is that, throughout these twelve months, the promise of God’s abiding presence has not failed or faltered. We remind ourselves of this in our Rule where we read, we can learn to stay still in our experience of numbness … and trust that Christ is just as truly alive in our hearts in these times as in those in which we enjoy the sense of his presence.

As we prayed the psalm that morning, I was flooded with an awareness that despite all that has happened these last months, even on the darkest days, God has faithfully shown the wonders of his love.

Over these months, we Brothers have been upheld and supported by the prayerful love and friendship of so many. You have reached out to us, assuring us of your prayers, and sustaining us by your generosity. Our, at first halting, and then more confident, venture into livestreaming and digital ministry has been received with incredible patience, and tremendous enthusiasm. We have been cared for in ways both simple and profound.

It has been a year none of us will want to repeat, and which all of us will want behind us. But through it all, God’s wondrous love has been our companion, even on the darkest days.

In a few weeks, our Lenten fast will end, the New Fire will be kindled, and the Resurrection will be proclaimed once more. As you experience the joy of the Resurrection this year, I pray that you will know the wonders of God’s love, as it bursts out of the tomb. This wondrous love has been your constant companion for these last twelve months as well.

Faithfully in the wondrous Love of God, which is seeing us through,

James SSJE

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