Monday, March 25, 2013

Holy Week Lament: Shannon Coelho (Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.)

Jesus gave us a litany of last words as a Sufferer; we refer to them as the Seven Last Words of Christ.  The deathbed words of the Suffering Servant will serve as our framework for the stories of lament we share here this Holy Week.

I count it a high privilege to know -- at least in small part -- the mourning stories of the dear ones who will share here for seven days.  Their lives walk the path between celebration, yes, but also suffering -- illness, relational disillusionment, anxiety, joblessness, death of loved ones, death of dearly-held dreams.  Their stories have helped form me in my understanding of suffering and I believe they could also encourage you too.  

I chose today's story-in-a-poem from an entry my friend Shannon Coelho submitted to the Christ Church Lenten devotional.  She shares in sparse detail not only a story of deep relational suffering but also a fraying strand of hope.  The same suffering-bourne grace offered to the dying, believing thief is strong enough to rescue us all.

By a Thread

Thirty years this June.
Seventeen of those spent spiraling.
The winds of blame, betrayal and plain adolescence
So powerful,
They spun him wide from his family berth -
Alone into,
Adrift in,
A sea of lonely experiments
With loves, highs, false prophecies and lesser gods -
A time of closed doors, open windows, muttered curses, mysterious rituals.

An eyeless storm promises no passing.
Twisting more tightly as each year passes,
More wreckage gathers.
A once wonder-full mind,
Now visited by voices
Speaking violence -
Mere threats turn to jagged wounds.
“I cut myself real bad.”
“Don’t tell Dad and Mom.”

There are 
Days without bread, 
Days without home. 
Countless days when prayers, raised, fall - 
Drip, drip, 
Now a deluge in our open hands.

There have been 
Claims of healing. 
Oaths sworn 
And then choked - 
By empty apologies, 
Admissions without repentance, 
A savoring of sin’s practice, 
A comfort in its arms 
And a course set - 
Far from you.

You, Christ, 
Commanded the storm to still.

Can’t you set this right? 
I fear late night calls.

Can’t you set this right? 
I miss him every day.

Can’t you set this right?
My prayers are bound by doubt.

Still we hang. 
All of us - 
By a thread.

What mourning stories have formed your life and 
grown your faith in the mercy-giving Jesus?  
 Tell us about it in the  comments below.  
If you've written your own post, share the link.

Shannon Coelho -- born and raised in the Yukon Territory of Canada -- has worked in the tv/film industry in Canada and teaching English in schools in Hiroshima. Now she makes Austin her home with her husband Peter, toddler Lucy and brand new baby boy Emmett.  When she has a few minutes between caring for her babies and getting to know her new community in Texas, she blogs at Without Caring Twopence. 

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