The Revealing

Greetings, welcome to worship with Shiloh United Methodist Church in Granite Quarry, North Carolina. My Name is Reverend Kathy Randall Bryant, and I am honored to be filling in for my husband, John, for worship for March 14, 2021.

I WANT JESUS TO WALK WITH ME

I want Jesus to walk with me

I want Jesus to walk with me

All along my pilgrim journey

I want Jesus to walk with me

In my trial, Lord, walk with me

In my trials, Lord, walk with me

When the shades of life are falling

Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me

In my sorrow, Lord walk with me 

In my sorrows, Lord walk with me

When my heart is aching

Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me 

In my troubles, Lord walk with me

In my troubles, Lord walk with me

When my life becomes a burden,

Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me

This weekend marks the year anniversary since we entered lockdown. It’s been a heavy year. TodayI’m naming this heaviness, because our hearts are heavy. But the promise is, we’re turning to the light. 

I began a Covid journal on Monday, March 16, 2020, and wrote “social distancing” in quote marks, because it was a new term to all of us. School was closed. We closed our sanctuary. We knew we would not gather indoors for Easter. 

I wished I was less worried, in part because I was coughing and couldn’t lay down and breathe. 

I also started keeping track of the numbers, a log I’ve kept for a year. We had 0 cases in Rowan county, 39 confirmed cases in North Carolina, 3,774 in the US, and 169,378 global confirmed cases. 6,513 people had died of Covid since the virus had been identified. 

Today those numbers are much different. As of the morning of this recording, March 2, which also happens to be the eight year anniversary of the death of my grandmother Janet Randall, we have ___ global cases, ___ in the US, ___ here in North Carolina, and ___ in Rowan county alone. And in Rowan county, ____ have died, North Carolina has lost ___, over half a million in the US have died, and over two and a half million lives have been lost across the globe from this pandemic since it was first identified late in December 2019. 

I grieve. I lament.  

And in the midst of this lament and grief, I recognize all the other things we are dealing with: loneliness, impatience, boredom, hope, and fettered joy. We are caught in a Lent that has lasted a whole year and we’re not to the end of it yet. 

And we have lost so much more than these numbers tell us. We’ve lost visits with friends, handshakes, hugs with relatives, plans that keep getting put on hold or suspended, confidence in the safety of simple things like going to the grocery store or out for a walk in the park or playing on the playground. 

And it seems that we’ve gained only longer hours alone. 

And the thing is, this crisis has revealed so much about who we are. We can be incredibly selfish as a people, and we can be incredibly selfless. We can come together and make huge sacrifices for the good of the community, and we have. 

We also have a really hard time trusting what we hear, especially if it sounds different from what we are used to or asks us to consider changing what we thought was the way things worked. 

And I think what has been the hardest for me is that we can’t practice our normal responses to crises. Our instinct is that we pull together, we get a potluck together, we have a prayer meeting in a living room… and we’ve learned that the most dangerous thing would be to gather together. We rely on others, on people, on being interdependent, and we didn’t know how to stay safe and draw comfort at the same time. 

We’ve gained knowing the importance of gathering together, especially because we have not been able to come together as a people face to face. This temporary action, of staying apart, has saved more lives than we know. 

We have learned that we rely on others for our lives. 

But we have lost so much. Touch and community and communion, celebration and singing, and live music and going to the movies and family tables and seeing the faces of the people we pass in the midst of our days. 

We’ve learned how to smile with our eyes. 

And I want to keep looking with better eyes at the world around me. My deepest hope, in the midst of all of this, is that we will be able to see with clear eyes that the needs that people have are not because of some individual moral failing, but because of systems in place that have created disparities. 

 A year ago I wrote in my Covid Journal: “The world is about to turn. This pandemic will change us. I pray that we gather together as a people and help protect those most vulnerable. […] May the coming weeks be a time where we practice patience with one another, and may we be creative in ways that we extend community and grace as we are physically isolated.” 

Here, in the middle of Lent, we also mark the celebration of when the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she would conceive and bear a child who would save the world. It’s this strange pause of Christmas in the midst of the penitence of Lent. 

And when Mary learns that she will bear the savior of the world, she sings. 

Canticle of the Turning

Song by Gary Daigle, Rory Cooney, and Theresa Donohoo

My soul cries out with a joyful shout

That the God of my heart is great

And my spirit sings of the Wondrous things

That you bring to the ones who wait

You fixed your sight on your servant’s plight

And my weakness you did not spurn

So from east to west shall my name be blest

Could the world be about to turn?

My heart shall sing of the day you bring

Let the fires of your justice burn

Wipe away all tears for the dawn draws near

And the world is about to turn!

Though I am small, my God, my all, 

You work great things in me

And your mercy will last from the Depths

Of the past to the end of the age to be

Your very name puts the proud to shame

And to those who would for you yearn

You will show your might

Put the strong to flight

For the world is about to turn

My heart shall sing of the day you bring

Let the fires of your justice burn

Wipe away all tears

For the dawn draws near

And the world is about to turn!

From the halls of power to the fortress tower

Not a stone will be left on stone

Let the king beware for your

Justice tears ev’ry tyrant from his throne

The hungry poor shall weep no more

For the food they can never earn

There are tables spread, 

ev’ry Mouth be fed

For the world is about to turn

My heart shall sing of the day you bring

Let the fires of your justice burn

Wipe away all tears

For the dawn draws near

And the world is about to turn!

Though the nations rage from age to age

We remember who holds us fast

God’s mercy must deliver us 

from the conqueror’s crushing grasp

This saving word that out forebears Heard 

Is the promise which holds us bound

‘Til the spear and rod can be

Crushed by God

Who is turning the world around

My heart shall sing of the day you bring

Let the fires of your justice burn

Wipe away all tears

For the dawn draws near

And the world is about to turn!

This. This has been my prayer from the beginning of this pandemic. This magnificent song that calls for the world to turn, for us to look around us with clear eyes, so that we remember God’s love is holding us fast. 

Our gospel for today is:

John 3:14b-21 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

And[…] so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

This is the word of God for all people, thanks be to God. 

This is the revealing. 

The world has turned. 

So many things have been laid bare in the past year. 

The first reported covid death in the US was on leap day last year. And we crossed half a million deaths from covid less than a year later. 

These deaths have been disproportionately of our elders and those who have continually been pushed to the margins—our siblings in christ who are black and brown skinned, who have not been extended the same care as those with white privilege. 

So much wisdom we have lost. Too many stories that will never be told again. Laughs around the table, with old jokes and familiar recipes that you just can’t get quite right again. 

We have lost so much.

And in our losing let us not lose sight of what has been revealed. We have too many places where we do not meet the needs of people who have been denied basic care. 

If anything, this pandemic has shown how we are connected in far more many ways than we understand. Our connections, the lives of those who are closely linked to ours, are tighter and closer and deeper than we realized. 

I surely had not realized how essential our grocery workers were: they create space for our provision. And even as I have worked in a grocery store pharmacy before, I didn’t realize how essential that work was, until the grocery store became the only place where I regularly encountered people in my community for a year. 

In my conversations with the people who work at the register, the point of contact with so many people, I learned their stories, how their grand kids are doing, when they are caring for relatives, watching out for their kids who are in school with my kids. 

I remember a conversation I had with a woman I have seen regularly, where she commented: “and you, we see you often enough. We know you.”

And I replied, “how interesting it is that we can recognize each other, even with our masks across our face.”

She laughed, and we shared a smile with our eyes. 

The world is turning. 

Christ came to live among us, to be connected with us, to share smiles and stories and share food at a table with us. Christ came into the world in order that his life would be closely linked with ours. And in linking his life with our own, with the lives of the world, he died and rose again in order to bring life to the world. 

This pandemic is not a holy judgment on the world, but it has shed light anew on the ways that the structures of our world and our country have been designed to leave behind and risk the lives of people who do not deserve to be treated with so little care. 

It has exposed the ways we fail to care for others. 

But. I still have hope.

Because Christ came to link his life closely with our lives. 

Because I keep seeing people looking with new eyes, with eyes that smile above masks that are itchy and uncomfortable and yet we still wear them because we are protecting our neighbors. We have seen how much we rely on others for our lives. 

Because I have seen people working to the mutual good, heard stories about sharing together. 

For instance, there was a couple in Austin during the winter storm who created an ad hoc soup kitchen for their neighbors, and when people helped chip in above their costs, they shared it with other area networks who were doing the same thing. 

I’ve got another friend who has been helping with a monthly food cooperative feeding folks in the durham area, once a month they get together and cook, and in the first eight months of the pandemic they served 40,000 meals. All cooking outside and wearing masks, and meeting the needs of their community. 

Here at Shiloh, we’ve kept Rufty Homes and Meals on Wheels open, feeding people, even when our sanctuary was closed. We are meeting people’s needs.

I have hope because I keep seeing people working for what Jesus came to build. I keep seeing the kingdom show up. I keep seeing the hungry fed, the wounds bound, and the lost found. 

The world is turning. 

The work is not done. The light is still shining on evil that would seek to continue to escape into the shade. We have far yet to go. But I have hope as I see us working together for the good of our community. People keep doing work that glows with God’s glory.

Our psalm today names how the people of God have seen God’s work throughout history. Hear these words from Psalm 107

Psalm 107:1-9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

    for his steadfast love endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

    those he redeemed from trouble

and gathered in from the lands,

    from the east and from the west,

    from the north and from the south.

Some wandered in desert wastes,

    finding no way to an inhabited town;

hungry and thirsty,

    their soul fainted within them.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

    and he delivered them from their distress;

he led them by a straight way,

    until they reached an inhabited town.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

    for his wonderful works to humankind.

For he satisfies the thirsty,

    and the hungry he fills with good things.

Psalm 107:17a,18b-22 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Some were sick […] and they drew near to the gates of death.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

    and he saved them from their distress;

he sent out his word and healed them,

    and delivered them from destruction.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

    for his wonderful works to humankind.

And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices,

    and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.

This is the word of God for all people, thanks be to God. 

Even in the midst of our grief, God is not done with us yet. Even as we still are not together, we are not alone. May you see God in the smiling eyes of those around you, May you have hope in the revealing. 

In the name of the father, son, and holy spirit. Amen. 

Pastoral prayer:

Wounded Healer, draw us near to you. Be with us in our wounds, losses, and grief. We have lost so much this past year: loved ones, safety, security, health, time around the table, visits with friends and family, well-being, and rest. 

The time has been tedious and anxious, monotonous and filled with alerts. It is exhausting, Lord. We are weary and worn thin. Our hearts are threadbare with grief and uncertainty. 

Turn us, Lord, back to you. Grant us the wisdom that comes from being near to you, that even as we are apart from each other, we are together in worship, in faith, and in hope. 

Make our moments of joy times when we can catch sight of your glory, renew us in times when we are at our last shred of patience, and hold us when our grief washes over us in tears and weeping. 

In the name of Jesus, who came into the world to save the world, we pray, saying: 

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

and the power, and the glory,

for ever and ever. Amen.

I’ll close with this hymn: What Wondrous Love Is This UMH 292

1 What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul?

What wondrous love is this, O my soul?

What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss

to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,

to bear the dreadful curse for my soul?

2 When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,

when I was sinking down, sinking down,

when I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,

Christ laid aside his crown for my soul, for my soul,

Christ laid aside his crown for my soul.

3 To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing,

to God and to the Lamb I will sing,

to God and to the Lamb who is the great I Am,

while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,

while millions join the theme, I will sing.

4 And when from death I’m free I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,

and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on,

and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be,

and through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,

and through eternity I’ll sing on.

Benediction:

May the liberating grace of the lord Jesus Christ, the wondrous love of God, 

and the revealing power of the holy spirit go with you. 

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you : wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing : once again into our doors.

Amen, Go in peace. 

Readings for Christmas and Epiphany

Christmas isn’t over yet. We will be reading these each night as a family. All scripture from CEB, all prayers original and by me.

December 25: Christmas Day (1)

Luke 2:1-20 

In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.

Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.

The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”

When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told. (CEB)

Christ, Jesus, be born in us today. Fill us with wonder and glory. Show us in our fear that we can still be amazed at your Good News. Amen. 

December 26 (Christmas 2)

John 1:1-3a

In the beginning was the Word

    and the Word was with God

    and the Word was God.

The Word was with God in the beginning. 

Everything came into being through the Word,

    and without the Word

    nothing came into being. (CEB)

Creating Word, pull us into being in you, so that we can fully exist. Amen. 

December 27 (Christmas 3)

John 1:3b-5

What came into being

   through the Word was life, 

    and the life was the light for all people.

The light shines in the darkness,

    and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light. (CEB)

Living Word, shine your light on us so we can see your love. Amen.

December 28 (Christmas 4)

John 1:14

The Word became flesh

    and made his home among us.

We have seen his glory,

    glory like that of a father’s only son,

        full of grace and truth. (CEB)

Human Word, live among us so that we can see your truth. Amen. 

December 29 (Christmas 5)

Luke 2:29-32

“Now, master, let your servant go in peace according to your word,

   because my eyes have seen your salvation.

You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples.

It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles

    and a glory for your people Israel.” (CEB)

Saving God, give us rest, we are so tired. We need your help. Amen.  

December 30 (Christmas 6)

Jeremiah 31:8

I’m going to bring them back from the north;

    I will gather them from the ends of the earth.

Among them will be the blind and the disabled,

    expectant mothers and those in labor;

        a great throng will return here. (CEB)

Gathering God, we are so far apart. We long to be together. Be present with us while we wait to gather in your presence. Amen. 

December 31 (Christmas 7)

Jeremiah 31:9a

With tears of joy they will come;

    while they pray, I will bring them back.

I will lead them by quiet streams

    and on smooth paths so they don’t stumble. (CEB)

Guiding God, let us know that our feelings are valuable, and that you honor our tears as we wait for you to bring us together. Amen.

January 1 (Christmas 8)

Isaiah 63:8-9

God said, “Truly, they are my people,

    children who won’t do what is wrong.”

    God became their savior.

During all their distress, God also was distressed,

    so a messenger who served him saved them.

In love and mercy God redeemed them,

    lifting and carrying them throughout earlier times. (CEB)

God of old and new, be with us in hard times. Carry us, make us yours. Amen. 

January 2 (Christmas 9)

Matthew 2:13-15 

When the magi had departed, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod will soon search for the child in order to kill him.” Joseph got up and, during the night, took the child and his mother to Egypt. He stayed there until Herod died. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: I have called my son out of Egypt. (CEB)

God of refuge, be with refugees who flee for their lives. Move us to prepare safe places for them as you prepared for Jesus’ family when he was a child. Amen.  

January 3 (Christmas 10)

Matthew 2:18

A voice was heard in Ramah,

    weeping and much grieving.

        Rachel weeping for her children,

            and she did not want to be comforted,

                because they were no more. (CEB)

God of sadness, grieve with us when we learn of unjust death. Help us change the world so that mothers no longer lose their children from violence, unnecessary disease, and hunger. Amen. 

January 4 (Christmas 11)

Matthew 2:19-21

After King Herod died, an angel from the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. “Get up,” the angel said, “and take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel. Those who were trying to kill the child are dead.” Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. (CEB)

God of protection, bring us home to you, make us a home wherever we are. Amen. 

January 5 (Christmas 12)

Isaiah 60:1-3 

Arise! Shine! Your light has come;

    the Lord’s glory has shone upon you.

Though darkness covers the earth

    and gloom the nations,

    the Lord will shine upon you;

    God’s glory will appear over you.

Nations will come to your light

    and kings to your dawning radiance. (CEB)

God of Christmas, with your birth your dawn approaches, shine your light through us. Amen.

January 6 Epiphany

Matthew 2:1-12 

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.”

When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and everyone in Jerusalem was troubled with him. He gathered all the chief priests and the legal experts and asked them where the Christ was to be born. They said, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote:

You, Bethlehem, land of Judah,

        by no means are you least among the rulers of Judah,

            because from you will come one who governs,

            who will shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod secretly called for the magi and found out from them the time when the star had first appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you’ve found him, report to me so that I too may go and honor him.” When they heard the king, they went; and look, the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route. (CEB)

King Jesus, reveal our lies and false words, so that in truth and honesty we honor you. Amen. 

Advent 3

Advent Week 3

December 13

Isaiah 61:1

The Lord God’s spirit is upon me,

because the Lord has anointed me.

[God] has sent me

to bring good news to the poor,

to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim release for captives,

and liberation for prisoners. (CEB)

God of freedom, free the prisoners, release the captives, heal our broken hearts—we need some good news. Amen.

December 14

Isaiah 61:2-3a

To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

and a day of vindication for our God,

to comfort all who mourn,

to provide for Zion’s mourners,

to give them a crown in place of ashes,

oil of joy in place of mourning,

a mantle of praise in place of discouragement. (CEB)

God of joys, God of sorrows, comfort us in our grief, celebrate with us while we dance, and hold us in all our varied and true feelings. Amen.

December 15

Isaiah 61:3b-4

They will be called Oaks of Righteousness,

planted by the Lord to glorify [God’s own self].

They will rebuild the ancient ruins;

they will restore formerly deserted places;

they will renew ruined cities,

places deserted in generations past. (CEB)

God of restoration, work through us to rebuild what has been lost. Amid ruins and places of death, plant life for everyone to flourish. Amen.

December 16

Isaiah 35:1-2

The desert and the dry land will be glad;

the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the crocus.

They will burst into bloom,

and rejoice with joy and singing.

They will receive the glory of Lebanon,

the splendor of Carmel and Sharon.

They will see the Lord’s glory,

the splendor of our God. (CEB)

God of splendor, plant us deep in you. Flourish within us joy that blossoms in unexpected places so we may reflect your glory. Amen.

December 17

Isaiah 35:3-4

Strengthen the weak hands,

and support the unsteady knees.

Say to those who are panicking:

“Be strong! Don’t fear!

Here’s your God,

coming with vengeance;

with divine retribution

God will come to save you.” (CEB)

Steady God, strengthen and support us when we feel weak. When we are afraid, be with us, so that our fear does not swallow us up. Amen.

December 18

Isaiah 35:5-6a

Then the eyes of the blind will be opened,

and the ears of the deaf will be cleared.

Then the lame will leap like the deer,

and the tongue of the speechless will sing. (CEB)

God of surprises, move us to dance in your glory, sing within us, and show us your wonder in new ways. Amen.

[sub note about ableism: I wonder how those who live with disabled bodies and limited senses are able to engage in the wonder of god in ways that those who are not disabled miss out on. Also, in reading deeper, the deaf, blind, lame, and mute do not lose their identities, instead, their engagement with the glory of god expands. And that’s a prayer that I also want for myself.]

December 19

Isaiah 35:6b-7

Waters will spring up in the desert,

and streams in the wilderness.

The burning sand will become a pool,

and the thirsty ground, fountains of water.

The jackals’ habitat, a pasture;

grass will become reeds and rushes. (CEB)

God of waters, refresh us with your presence. Bring us to the waters edge so that our parched lips may drink deep and be renewed. Amen.

Scout Prayer

Inspired by the Girl Scout Promise and Law and the Boy Scout Oath and Law.

God of promise, you call us to live in your grace and strength by offering us your guidance through the Holy Spirit. 

Lead us to cultivate the fruit of living within your will in all we do. 

Grant us courage in the midst of challenges that test our resolution to live into your will. 

Instill bravery in us when others try to convince us of giving into our fears. 

Lead us to keep our promises, so that we can be honest, fair, and trustworthy. 

Show us how and where to help those around us.

Teach us to discern the wise use of resources so we can be thrifty, generous, and make the world a better place. 

Fill us with compassion, so we can be courteous, considerate, and caring to everyone. 

Guide us to respect the people we meet, the places we live in, the wild places we encounter in creation, and those who lead us with honor and integrity. 

Make space within us for joy,  so that we can be cheerful, friendly, and welcoming to our friends old and new, neighbors, and strangers. 

Help us explore your world in such a way that we always learn something new. 

In the name of Jesus, who taught his disciples to pray, saying: Our Father…

Three Year’s Grief

It has been three years since my cousin, Harper, died by suicide at age 14. She would be starting college this fall. 

I was in Florida with Mom and Dad and Rebel, visiting family, including Harper’s parents, and even spoke on the phone with Harper the night before she died. 

We learned later that she had mapped out the night she would die, she had unstrung her violin, she had said farewell to her Instagram personas. 

The depression lied too loudly.

And now we grieve. 

If depression is lying to you, please get help. 

I wish, I so strongly wish, that Harper had asked for help. 

I wish I had been able to tell her about some of the dark valleys I have gone through. 

I wish that I could have shared her burden, so that her load would not have been so heavy. 

We journey in grief after losing her to depression. The lies can sound so much like truth. 

If you need help, call me. Or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a resource that has people who are trained to help, available at all times. 

I wish Harper was still here. I want you to still be here. I pray that whatever valleys you are facing, that you ask for someone to walk with you, to lend a hand, to shine a light in the darkness. 

You don’t have to do this by yourself.