The song addresses our need of a Savior. It addresses our various stages of life. In the haunting minor key, it tells us that Emmanuel — God-with-Us — comes to comfort the grieving, the mourning, the sad, and the lonely.
This promise awaits us and all those who mourn — and we rejoice. “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”
My heart and soul mourns for the community of Newtown, Connecticut. A senseless act of violence has destroyed a community’s sense of peace. We will probably never have an adequate answer to our resounding “WHY?” as to how an act of this nature can happen. I only know and feel deeply in my soul that it is time to take action. Enough is enough.
So I begin with prayer –
Abba, Father! Comfort the community of Newtown, Connecticut. Comfort those who mourn. Comfort our nation as we seek answers. May we seek reconciliation and peace. Allow us to open our hearts to those who mourn. Then I pray the liturgy of the Franciscan Benediction that reads:
May God bless you with discomfort. Discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger. Anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears. Tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
May God bless you with foolishness. Enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
And the blessing of God, who creates, redeems and sanctifies, be upon you and all you love and pray for this day, and forever more.
Even so, come into our hearts Emmanuel!