A powerful video for those who are grieving loss today. I’d ask for your prayers for our church family as today and tomorrow will be tough days. Pray that God will be the treasure of our hearts, and that joy will abound amidst sorrow.
This past Saturday, a partner in the gospel, co-worker, friend, and beloved member of my church passed away suddenly. I was away on a reunion trip with some long-time college buddies, and the news hit me like the Florida heat I was in. Waves of grief rolled in like the tide in the most unexpected places and times – it was surreal being physically in such serene environs while being emotionally upheaved.
So many questions came to mind – What happened? How will his widow survive? What about the kids? How will we cope as a church community? What does this mean for my life? my work? my own family? At times, I found myself just wanting to burst out in tears, and at others, resolving not to waste my life because it is too short and not guaranteed.
I dreaded coming into the office this morning knowing that I would have to face my grief in the countenances of my beloved co-workers. We would have to face this together, and look for grace in each other’s words, tears, prayers, and memories. One of the hardest parts of being a pastor is taking up the role of hope-giver to meet the needs of the hurting all the while trying to manage and deal with one’s own hurt. Hope is easily dispensed, but often not internalized. The gospel is preached, but sometimes not believed by the one preaching.
So in the interests of my own grieving process, let me spout off a few thoughts about how to grieve with hope, and how to help others grieve with hope. My thoughts here are shaped by the conviction Stanley Hauerwas so eloquently wrote in his book, Resident Aliens.
“The faithful pastor keeps calling us back to God. In so doing, the pastor opens our imagination as a church, exposes us to a wider array of possibilities than we could have thought possible on our own…the congregation [can then be] free to explore alternatives to the status quo, possibly to investigate new forms of community whereby its members might become the sort of people who are willing to live on the basis of God’s plans for the world rather than their own.”
So in my grief (and possibly yours), let me pastor you. Let me open your imagination to the possibilities of hope in grieving. Here are some raw thoughts about death and grief…all with the aim of experiencing grace. Continue reading
This morning I’m grieving the loss of a friend and fellow partner in the kingdom. Anna went home to be with the Lord yesterday night (fitting that it would be on Leap Day). Would you pray for her family? The CF family?
There’s a host of emotions and feelings as I reflect on the nature of suffering, the promise of going home, and how to live my life in the meanwhile. I’m reminded today that my life is on the edge and in between. The promise of resurrection is Anna’s as well as mine because of what Jesus did so many years ago. Yet, we are living in between that and the promise of what is to come – the realization of our resurrection.
I’m impressed and struck by how well Anna lived her life despite the confusion, pain, fears, and sadness. I’m blown away by the number of people from so many generations and around the world who have been impacted by her life.
So many thoughts, hopes, dreams, challenges are swirling through my mind and heart…but today, I choose to grieve (with hope), to pray, and to cry.