In the light of a hostage tragedy in my home city, Sydney, Australia, we joined as a staff in the College chapel to pray.
Last night, in the midst of the uncertainty and doubt, I was inspired by the story of the social media hashtag #IllRideWithYou, where it demonstrated the biblical adage, “Love thy neighbour as yourself.” Despite race, creed, religion, people wanted to stand side-by-side with their fellow commuters and demonstrate their connection with one another. I haven’t been able to find out if it happened, but I hope that there are positive stories to be told.
As a community we prayed for understanding, for strength, to be instruments of peace. And as we joined in silent, contemplative prayer, the lines of a poem began to form in my head.
The biblical narrative contains the Book of Lamentations, a book of sorrow. Read in tandem with the Book of Job I see the power of grief and mourning as a time that should bring us closer together. It is a time to share the burden even when we don’t understand it. To simply be and let the people around us grieve in their own way in their own time. It is a theme I return to in my writing from time to time, and I have returned to it today.
Let me hear the song of your heart
The song of lamentation
uttered in voiceless silence
and salted tears.
As I sit with you
pray with you
eat and drink with you
I will listen to you
That we may find strength
In one another’s grief
and extend comfort
through our joined hearts and voices
Teach me the song of lamentation
That I may know the song of your heart