April 26, 2020

This morning, a Sunday, I wake late, despite the light pouring into the room, a habit I’ve fallen into since church has been cancelled. Unnatural, unwelcome, but already, a behavior I can’t pull myself out of. This morning, my heart thick with a mood. I pull myself out of bed, and the first thing I see is a text from a friend, something I’d posted on Facebook seven years ago today—a reminder from St. Augustine to sing. In spite of everything, no matter what. Sing! I smile, but I do not sing. I know which book the quote came from. It’s the same book I’m currently rereading, the book I was reading, it seems, at exactly this time, seven years ago. Just yesterday, I read in it that the most often repeated command in Scripture is to sing. From something I read some time ago, I know the other is “do not fear.” Not what we’d expect from the Bible, perhaps not even what we’d expect from God. This morning, I read Exodus, God coming down on Mount Sinai in darkness and smoke. The people afraid, telling Moses, “You talk to Him for us.” How God is all things at once: smoke and darkness, light and clear skies. How we are all of this because He is all of this—we, made in the image of God. I open my laptop, and there, on the home page, is the command again: “sing.” This time, from a Psalm, “O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth.” Yes, God, I get it. You want me to sing. I sit down on the couch, and I cry. I had been planning today to rip out ivy and sew seeds of wildflowers, my first foray into growing something since I tended succulents as a child. After days of rain, today, sun. Perfect, but I look at the ground, my heart filled with smoke, and I think, why? How will I know if they’ll even grow? Yes, the Lord says. Plant them anyway. I sigh, which, okay, is one letter away from singing. Sing, St. Augustine, the Psalms, God Himself commands us. Sing, perhaps, so you do not fear. Maybe planting a garden, like writing, like loving, is one more act of faith. God in the seed, God in the dark. “You talk to Him for us,” the people told Moses, and he did. Who knows if he felt like it or not?

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