But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)
I'm not sure why I have death on my mind this week. But I do. Not in a morbid sense, but in a post-Easter sense. We believe that Jesus swallowed up death through his resurrection to eternal life! That is a wonderful bedrock of hope in the face of death and it is well worth remembering for awhile on this side of our Easter
April 19th was the anniversary of both the Branch Davidian fire and the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Those heinous, evil acts of destruction have marked the lives of hundreds of people; I'm sure that many many tears were shed in memory of the children and adults who lost their lives in those two events. But
such memories are not unusual.
Every day is a day when someone, somewhere, is losing a loved one. Every day is a day when someone, somewhere, is grieving the loss of someone a year ago, three years ago, twenty years ago. The price of love is the pain of grief. The Bible acknowledges that grief is a powerful emotion which helps us to emotionally handle,
and grow through, the pain of death. We need to grieve. It is NOT unChristian to grieve, to weep, to feel all the emptiness of the losses
of our lives.
But there is a difference for a child of God. Our grief is not empty - our grief is full of the Spirit who is there in and with us, turning our
tears into prayers and our heartache into gratitude and compassion. We do not grieve as others who have no hope. Like so many of the
lament psalms, the anger and pain of our grieving turns to praise and thanksgiving in an often miraculous way.
My Grandma Fay died a few years ago. She was a great woman who suffered an awful lot in her life. I remember watching her grieve the death of my great grandma to cancer, my grandpa to heart disease and my uncle to a senseless car accident. She loved deeply and grieved deeply. She also had a strong faith in God. I like to think of her with God now. That's all I need to know to have a
wonderful sense of peace.
May the power of the resurrection transform your grieving as well.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, you give us more than we could ever ask for. You give us what money cannot buy - life itself, life that begins now and it brought to completion only when you have brought us home to be with you forever. Thank you for the good news that in Jesus you have swallowed up death. May that good news fill our days with meaning and purpose. In Jesus' name. Amen.
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