WorshipWeb: Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

Even When...

By Yuri Yamamoto

"I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining;
I believe in love even when I don’t feel it;
I believe in God even when he is silent."
—anonymous Jewish poem, set to music (YouTube) by Mark A. Miller

When I directed a church choir, this arrangement of "I Believe" was one of my favorite songs. Some say that this poem was found on a wall of the Auschwitz prison camp, and others say in a cellar in Cologne. Whatever its origin, the lyrics and the song’s simple melody in a minor key seem to epitomize both the despair and hope of human conditions.

As a resident chaplain at a local hospital, I routinely witness deaths and countless other forms of human suffering. In the midst of so much suffering, I often just listen and absorb their painful stories. We call it compassionate presence, but I may be crying inside. When words fail, I pray and sing.

One night, I was listening to a family member’s stories in the hospital. Their loved one was not doing well. After what seemed like many hours, I noticed that the skyline was changing colors. It was time for me to get going. In my parting prayer, I thanked God for the sun that rose every morning, and asked for healing, strength, and courage.

On my way out, I stood by a large window facing the eastern sky. Now the dark sky was becoming indigo to purple to light blue to orange, but there was a thick, grey cloud on the horizon. The edge of the cloud looked like burning, so the sun must have been right behind it.

I stood there for a moment, wanting to see the sun. But it seemed to take forever, and I was tired. As I softly sang the song, I turned away from the window. I knew that the sun would rise again, and there would be a new day, a new life, and a new joy to come.

Dear God, help us keep our faith strong so that we can face challenges with courage, remain hopeful, and support each other in love.

About the Author

Yuri Yamamoto

Yuri Yamamoto (they/she) lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and is a board-certified chaplain serving at a close custody state prison, musician, expressive art practitioner, and activist against intersecting systemic oppression....


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Clouds swirl against a blue and orange sky.

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By Elizabeth Harding

From Braver/Wiser

Remembering is the art of holding a memory and sharing it; it’s drawing upon that memory so it can help us to grow into people who live lives of meaning and service. As a practice, remembering connects us deeply to each other and to the love that sustains us.

Love Showed Up