Something was wrapped over them. A shroud. But there is a waiting to be found and a rich party to one day be found.
There was something draped over them, or at least that was it felt like. A shroud.
What’s a shroud? It’s something that envelopes or obscures.
A shroud of mist can cover the landscape.
A shroud also refers to the burial cloth in which a dead person is wrapped for burial.
Sometimes, as I listen to people, it feels like there is something draped over them. That they have a shroud and my calling is to lift up the shroud, look under, and bring some Spirit resuscitation.
We could call that shroud depression, hopelessness, grief, loss, despair.
We could also call it a grounded awareness of the reality of living in a broken world. A world where broken world decisions keep being made by people like me and you. Decisions and choices that aren’t always inline with God’s kingdom come.
So I sit, listen, grieve and groan.
I pray for a presence of comfort to fill the weary soul. That the shroud wouldn’t suffocate.
I also point people to finding comfort in truth that they can easily digest.
Simple things like …
I am held
I am known
I am loved
Perhaps I could add a fourth
I am waiting
I am waiting
Most mornings I start my day by listening to scripture being read to me.
This morning’s reading was Isaiah 25:6-9 and you can listen to it here. I would encourage you to listen. Take some time for scripture to form and fill you.
Here is the reading.
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear.
7 And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations;
8 he will swallow up death for ever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
9 It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation. Isaiah 25:6-9 (NRSV)
Under my shroud
As I sank into this reading, words of hope sneaked up and under my shroud.
- All – all peoples, all nations, all death, all tears, all faces, all disgrace, all the death.
There is a completeness to God’s actions, and you-all are included.
- A rich feast is being prepared. A banquet, a celebration, a party that even dark closet introverts will want to dance in.
- God will wipe away tears and any sense of fig leaf hiding disgrace that we have. Hands go down, nakedness exposed, everything seen and welcomed by God’s embrace.
- Hopeful waiting
At the moment, I am shrouded.
Do you remember the game of hide and seek?
At advanced stage, the child will go to extreme lengths to hide from those seeking to find them. Perhaps, in their extreme measures, they never want to be found. A very adult experience.
But when a child is very little, they may simply throw a blanket over themselves and think that if they can’t see others, then others can’t see them.
But, of course, others can see the shape and form of the person they are looking for.
So there is a game of waiting and pretense.
Giggling erupts out of its constraints, discovery, joy, lets go have a party. ‘I can see you’ bounces into ‘I love you, I know you, I hold you, I cherish you.’
We are waiting
There is a corporateness to our waiting.
This is both an individual experience of waiting and also a community of longing.
I sit with you, and you sit with me. We don’t let the shroud suffocate the hope out of us.
We weep together at our shared loss. We share tasting samples, like you get in the supermarket, of some rich heavenly food.
We wait, we point, and we wipe each other’s tears. We enter each others disgrace and cover it with grace.
Psalm 139 comforts us.
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night —
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you. Psalm 139:7-12
Can I peek under your shroud?
Quotes to consider
- One of the deepest sources of my own loneliness is that so few people seem to have much of an interest in exploring my interior world. Larry Crabb SoulCare
- Redeemed pain is more impressive to me than removed pain Phillip Yancey
- A vision we give to others of who and what they could become has power when it echoes what the spirit has already spoken into their souls. Larry Crabb Connecting
- Strength is not the absence of vulnerability. Strength is knowing what your weaknesses are and working with them. Terrence Real
- Opening up your soul to someone, letting them into your spirit, thoughts, fears, future, hopes, dreams… that is being naked. Rob Bell
Questions to answer
- Have you experienced talking with someone and it felt like there was covering over them. A layer inhibiting entry. What was your first response? Why that?
- Whats it like waiting?
- How it would be for you to have someone enter your ‘disgrace’ and cover it with grace?
- Get the sheet off your bed and drape it over you. Under that shroud what would it be like to have someone sneak in underneath, bring some delicous party food and share it with you? Journal about this and email me firstname.lastname@example.org