Devotions from Tri-City Pastors – Pastor Tia of Christ the King, April 22, 2020

Greetings, Tia

For the last 3 nights I have done something, I wouldn’t have dreamed about doing just six weeks ago. I howled. Like a wolf. Really loud and long at 8 pm for about 2 minutes. One of my neighbors told me about it and said: “Try it, it’s so refreshing and freeing.” I thought, she was crazy, one of these Berkeley moms, you know.

The first night I howled, my husband thought I was crazy and the kids just ignored me. The second night, my daughter joined in. The third one, my husband started howling at 8 pm sharp and so I ran outside. My son was so embarrassed about his parents that were clearly out of their minds, that he started crying. We just kept doing. We would howl and then wait for the answer of our neighbors and then howl again. All over our neighborhood people answered. Eventually, my son joined in. I guess, there is a point when it’s weirder to not be part…

It’s crazy. And it’s liberating. It truly is. To me the howling is a bodily prayer. I howl with my soul and I put in everything: my anxieties about the near future. My hopes for the world. My fears for how this time will impact my kids. My love for my friends, family, congregation, neighbors and the entire creation, my love of God.

My gratitude towards all the amazing people in my life: like the neighbor who just gifted me a box of wooden blocks the night before my son’s sixth birthday (today). And blocks are the one thing he misses most from his classroom. Like the members of my congregation who sent us incredible Easter cards and make sure my kids have enough arts and books supply right now. Like the piper who stands on a roof in my neighborhood every night at 6 pm and plays for us and people dance in the streets. And for a short while this extraordinary times feels like a glimpse of paradise. Like the people checking in with us from all over the world to make sure that we are fine (the news about the US are pretty frightening in the rest of the world so I always have to reassure people that we are very well and safe here in the Bay Area).

That’s not all, though. For the last 4 weeks I have also stood in the middle of the street on any given Wednesday at noon and have sung with my neighbors. I have also danced in the middle of the street on Fridays (except for Good Friday, of course) at 5 pm. There is a lot of street-life happening in my block recently. We did start asking ourselves, why we never thought of doing this before.

The Tri-City Interfaith Council and Compassionate Fremont are encouraging people across the Tri-Cities to step onto their porches, driveways, apartment balconies, etc., at 7:00 p.m. each Thursday (starting this week), for as long as the shelter in place order stands, to spend a few minutes applauding all the essential workers who are on the front lines. So many are potentially exposing themselves to the coronavirus so that the rest of us can continue to get healthcare, eat, have running water in our homes. It might take 2 or 3 weeks to become a movement. But it will be awesome and empowering and liberating, to actually do something, trust me.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. (Psalm 150,6) Yes, let me take a deep breath, Lord, and howl in your name. Let me dance in your name, let me sing in your name, let me connect with my neighborhood in your name. Everyone, who breathes, praises the Lord. Just by breathing. That’s a ton of praise right there. And I don’t even have to be happy. I just have to breathe and be. And if I want to I can howl and clap and dance and sing, too. Praise the Lord!

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