Comfort, comfort

The order could not have come at a worse time.

Closing restaurants and businesses may slow the spread of the virus, but closings also spread unemployment. The suffering of the sick and the heartache of their caregivers is met by the despair of those who’ve lost dreams and livelihoods. 

This week I was on a Zoom meeting with my old debate team friends at the Air Force Academy from 50 years ago. Our revered Coach Whitlock, now 86, told us how the pandemic put an end to his teaching career after 56 years.

We got to tell Coach what he meant to us.

We’d all gone on to successful careers in the military, government, and business. Without any doubt, our speech and debate experience made all the difference.

So we lamented that the people ordering shutdowns never learned what we did.

It’s not enough to be right. To be convincing, you need to be clear and speak to the heart.

This Sunday is our Lessons and Carols service, where we get to hear great music, sing our faith, and let loose of some of our grief and frustrations.

One song we’ll be singing is Comfort, Comfort Now My People. Its words were first spoken to exiles by the Prophet Isaiah in the 6th century BCE.

A German pastor set the words to music about 500 years ago, using a French tune that’s now 600-years-old. The version in our hymnal was translated into English about 150 years ago.

I was imagining how this great song has comforted grieving people over the centuries.

Music is a gift from God, so it’s vital we sing during times like this.

Even if our leaders don’t know how to speak to our hearts, God still does.

Comfort, comfort now my people;

Speak of peace, so says our God.

Comfort those who sit in darkness,

Mourning under sorrow’s load.

Cry out to Jerusalem

Of the peace that waits for them;

Tell her that her sins I cover

And her warfare now is over.

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