14 April 2008

Through the Valleys

4th Sunday in Easter
Psalm 23; I Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10
by Scott D. Anderson


“Even though I walk though the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me…”
-Psalm 23:4

Just before Christmas, my 82-year-old mother asked me to pull my chair close to her in the skilled nursing facility she now calls home. A fiercely independent woman in her younger years, she now struggles with multiple ailments and a failing body. In these twilight years of life, she is completely dependent on others for her daily needs.

My mother wanted to talk with me about her death. This was our first such conversation. A sacred moment, to be sure. She worries about her constant, physical pain which the doctors are trying to manage. She fears being alone when the end is near. She wants to let go peacefully. She reached for my hand she asked me to pray with her for God’s presence, guidance and strength. As we closed our eyes, I realized that this was the first time I had ever prayed with my mother alone.

As a gay man who follows Jesus Christ, I find a peculiar kind of empathy with my mother. Perhaps it’s the years of struggle in coming out and building relationships, the many small crucifixions I’ve endured living as a part of the majority heterosexual culture. Walking through the valley of the shadow of death, in so many ways, is a part of our identity as LGBT Christians.

I’ve learned that God’s promise of presence, echoed in the words of the Psalmist, is often made real in the way we are present with others who are walking through the dark valleys of life. God makes use of our vulnerabilities and woundedness to communicate something profound about the character of divine love, a love which is capable of transcending even the most anxious moments of our living.

In that time of prayer with my mother, we were both able to share our weakness with God. What a gift!

Dear God, when we walk through the valleys of the shadow of death, we know you are with us. Help us to see our weaknesses and vulnerability as gifts to share. Amen.

1 comment:

Thirst said...

Simply Beautiful!