John Chrysostom in the MRI

At 7 AM, the hospital is empty, clean and quiet.

I patter in slip-grip socks to the bathroom and back to sit in front of the television detailing grisly morning news reports.

I squeeze my ears shut, trying to move the sound of the TV screen to the background, like a picture watermark in Microsoft Word. 

I open up the psalter, trying to let the words of the invitatory echo in my ears instead of details of a murder case.

Have mercy on me God

Psalm 51. How else can we respond to all this madness?

Jeremiah laments:

He has broken my teeth with gravel,
pressed my face in the dust;
My soul is deprived of peace,
I have forgotten what happiness is;
I tell myself my future is lost,
all that I hoped for from the Lord.

The thought of my poverty is wormwood and gall;
Remembering it over and over leaves my soul downcast within me.

Woven in between his words, the priests of the televised morning liturgy chant the terrorizing details of the violence of the city. They report, not lament, but they, too, are deprived of peace.

But then Jeremiah sings:

But I will call this to mind/as my reason to have hope:

The favors of the Lord are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent; They are renewed each morning,

The lord does not tire of showing mercy and it’s true. No matter how deeply we are diving into the world’s much there’s always more grace and beauty being poured out in us.

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