In today’s Morning Prayer we hear from Psalm 144:
“Lord what is man that you care for him,
mortal man that you keep him in mind;
man, who is merely a breath,
whose life fades like a passing shadow.”
Reading those words (which I’ve read thousands of times) my mind turns, not to the abstract sense of death, but rather to my day, yesterday.
Monday is “get the wheels moving day” in every parish I’ve ever served in. Voicemails from the weekend need to be processed, people begin calling the office with questions and issues that came up Sunday at parish meetings, or in the normal course of parish life. Plus, of course, it’s Monday! After the beauty of Sunday worship there’s always a come-down as mundane Monday strikes again. Monday’s not “bad,” per se… it’s just work. Yesterday seemed particularly disjointed. I couldn’t really dig in at my desk. Interruptions kept coming, as well as unexpected requests. I really felt like my life was but a breath or a passing shadow.
It’s Tuesday and now, and with a good night’s sleep, some hind sight and the help of the Psalmist I’m thinking, “Maybe Monday wasn’t so bad.” Jesus’ own life was like a breath… a passing shadow. He only lived thirty three years. Of those, only three comprised his public ministry, and those were tumultuous. Nonetheless, God deigned to take on our passing shadow life… He embraced it, clutched it close to himself and brought forth from it new Resurrection life. It doesn’t mean that human life is easy or that the tumult doesn’t sometimes exhaust… or even hurt us; Jesus himself cried out on the Cross. But for those of us who look on this life with eyes of faith, there’s a happy ending in store. Amen.