Last week, my wife and I attended the memorial service for a friend of ours back in North Carolina. In the midst of the prayers and remembrances, one of the rabbis who officiated read the poem Notes from the Other Side by Jane Kenyon. You can read it here. As he read the poem, he turned one of the final commas into a question mark followed by a long pause:
As promised, proves
to be mercy clothed in light."
Life is hard. World history is a seemingly unending horror show. We should not rush to explain away the horrors with glib catch-phrases, or wave away the serious doubts about God or the future that intense pain and suffering generate. Our friend was a lovely and talented woman who died much too soon. Her passing leaves a great void in the lives of those who loved her. The rabbi was right to pause before relating what the poet wished us to know about the Almighty.
But there is good news on the other side of the silence. For Christians, the note we've received from the other side to that effect is the resurrected Jesus. He greets us and says, "Peace be with you." He is the assurance that God is nothing other than "mercy clothed in light."
May Easter comfort you and give you courage.