Words of Hope by Reverend Matthew Sams

The Blues great Buddy Guy was once asked, “Who can sing the Blues?” “Anyone”, he answered. “Everyone’s had the blues and if you haven’t yet, just live a little longer.” We can all relate to this now. Many of us must stay at home but want to be out. Some of us must go to work but want to be home to care of family. Some of us are worried about losing work or income, others of us have already lost our jobs. Some of us are desperate to visit loved ones in hospital, others of us are desperate to get away from people who claim to love us. There have been better days. Yet even Blues songs sing about the good and the beautiful, they testify to life in its fullness.

There is good and beauty in this world. Never have we seen so many people throughout the world sacrifice their own liberty and income so that strangers will not become ill. Each religion and spirituality I have encountered has self-discipline as an important practice. Self-discipline not only changes our character for the betterment of ourselves but teaches us to think about and care for strangers and friends. We develop love that goes beyond the self.

This week marks Holy Week for Christians and Passover for Jews. Later this month begins Ramadan for Muslims. This month then is unusual in that all three Abrahamic faiths celebrate our significant holy times. For Christians, Holy Week is an in-between time. We are in between Palm Sunday when Christians express our hope for the future and Easter Sunday when God declares the new hope and the new shape of the world in the Resurrection of Christ. In between those two Sundays, a lot happens and some of it is horrifying.

Jurgen Moltmann, a 94-year-old German theologian wrote this week that, “God does not spare us from the dark valley, but God is with us in our fears of natural catastrophes caused by viruses and ecological catastrophes caused by humans.” From wherever you draw strength, know that you are not alone. From whatever is causing fear, know that you are not alone. From whatever gives you hope, know that you become a beacon for others. Live a full life, sing the blues. Love, help others. Laugh; laugh an in-between laugh that knows tomorrow is a different day.


Rev. Matthew Sams

Willowdale Presbyterian Church & Willowdale Interfaith Coalition