If only I could tell you with confidence that following God in the way of Jesus would prevent sadness and tears in your life.  But I can’t.  The human condition in the world shows us again and again that we are going to have to endure trials of all sorts.  The promise of a life lived in relationship to God is the ultimate ordering of all things in God’s purposes.  If any portion of Scripture is a mantra to that promise it might be these:

Psalm 126:6-7

6
Those who sowed with tears *
will reap with songs of joy.
7
Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed, *
will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.

These are the last two verses of the psalm appointed for today in the Lection of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, remembering the Martyrs of New Guinea.  Your trials may not include the physical martyrdom endured by these Missionaries remembered this day, but the fact of the matter is that every life lived in faith and discipleship is going to require a death of one sort or another.

In Sunday’s gospel from Matthew (16:21-28) Jesus makes clear that dying to self is a requirement of discipleship.  Jesus makes clear that surrender and emptying of self, abandonment of personal agendas and a radical trust on God in times of severe trial and bad news is the narrow way to living the life of Holy Union with God in Christ that we are all invited to tread.

For today (and face it that’s all we can face right now), I choose to believe that every road of sorrows I’ve traveled with weeping in my heart and tears on my cheeks, will be overshadowed by the marvelous homecoming bathed in unbridled joy which the Psalmist speaks of here.

May all our tears be followed by the songs of joy that come only from God, the creator of all.  The one which is in all and is the hope of our salvation.

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