‘The season of singing has come’ (Song of Songs 2:12).
‘He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart’ (Is. 40:11).
As we poured out drafts of Living Waters on the thirsty faithful in Lithuania last week, Jesus cheered us with song. We gazed on Him (as in the icon) and saw how closely He held us.
Our champions, Archbishop Kestutis Kevalas and Vilma Karveline of the Community of Mercy, opened myriad doors for us to strengthen their people. Our people. We gathered with seminarians then priests; we prayed for hours to empower the lay faithful who represent Living Waters there. We spent Palm Sunday teaching and ministering at a national renewal gathering amid lush songs of praise. Exhausted, we caught His wave; Divine Mercy carried us.
Jesus sang over us, His wounds visible and open to receiving ours. He sang over a trembling people who wait in active faith and dread as Russian boots trample nearby Ukraine. Our Shepherd came very near; He shored up the abused: adults whose early lives had been invaded by war-torn elders who unwittingly visited trauma on their lambs.
Horrifying visuals and sounds of NATO planes overhead (Lithuania’s troops have increased ten-fold) challenge the fragile healing of wounded saints. We walked with them, as Kestutis and Vilma do daily: we reinforced the link between abuse and a host of addictions, strengthening all to surrender sin in exchange for Almighty Mercy. We nourished those vulnerable to fake identities and marveled at the progress of friends who commit to healing others as they deepen theirs. In each gathering, we helped saints identify the ’spirit of death’ that hangs over any former arm of the USSR; we taught them to renounce that oppression (and its obvious triggers) as we sang and allowed Jesus to carry us close.
We remembered the ‘Singing Revolution’ that brought down Soviet rule in the Baltic nations 30-years-ago. After half century of Soviet strangulation, Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians linked arms to forge (literally) a human chain that united them as they sang and prayed for democratic self-rule. Vilma pointed out to me one old priest who in 1990 presided over prayer in the Lithuanian Parliament while citizens surrounded the building and sang. Soviet tanks converged to retake the government and never did! Not a life was lost! Singing trumped the singeing of innocent lives.
We remember, and we take heart. May we in America raise our voices as one to stave off this new threat to the freedom of our Baltic family. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Poland, the Ukraine et. al.—we sing for the Singing Shepherd to unite you close to His heart!