Tag Archives: loss

From the Service of Remembrance Last Night

I thought I would pipe in and share a few words from our Service of Remembrance last night, a reminder that the Christmas season is not a cheery, jolly time for everyone. Indeed, a lot of people out there feel great despair and loneliness. If you are one of them, you are not alone, and I hope you know that God is big enough to receive the grief, pain, and sadness you carry.

God did not wait until the world was ready, till the nations were at peace.
God came when the heavens were unsteady and prisoners cried for release.
God did not wait for the perfect time.
God came when the need was deep and great. God dined with sinners in all their grime.
God did not wait until the hearts were pure.
In JOY God came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt. To a world of anguish and shame. God came in JOY, and His light never goes out.
God came to a world which did not mesh; to heal its ill, and shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made flesh, the maker of the stars were born.
We cannot wait until the world is whole, to raise our songs with joyful voice, to share our grief, to touch our pain.
God came in grace, with love. Rejoice! Rejoice!

- Adapted from “First Coming” by Madeleine L’Engle in the Blue Christmas service


It’s Okay to Mourn.

Nathan & Emily at the State FairI’m here in my church office, listening to Akron/Family’s newest album after a busy morning and a beautiful memorial service for a dear friend.

And as I am thinking, I got to say to this – especially to us guys – it’s okay to mourn.

Grief (from dictionary.com) means “keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.”

Grief is big and broad. It includes life changes – like new jobs, moves, relationships, church families, and so on. But it also includes death and dying, which is what we most naturally think of when we think about grief.

When my wife and I moved from DC to Dallas, we grieved for a while. Dallas is a great city, but DC is also a great place. We left behind friends, familiar roles, favorite restaurants, and warm memories. Dallas required us to start over. There is some joy in that, starting over and all, but it’s tough too. It took us a while to find some new favorites and new friends… and hey, it’s still ongoing.

In other words, we grieved.

Sometimes, in life, we assign grieving to just funerals and so on, forgetting that it’s bigger. And sometimes, we don’t even allow ourselves to grieve at the loss of loved ones. We say things like, “they are in a better place now.” Or “God needed another angel.” Or “it was God’s plan.” Personally, I understand what people are trying to say when they say those things, but it’s not always helpful.

It’s okay to grieve, to cry, to lament, to weep, to experience the flow of emotions (which can include joy and laughter), and to not get over it quickly.

It’s okay to mourn.

This Sunday, my message is going to be about death & dying, how we have permission to lament the loss of loved ones in our lives, even if it means getting angry at God. For a sneak peek, check out the Mourner’s Bill of Rights. Is there anything in there that surprises you? Do you agree with it? Have you followed it in your life? Why or why not?

- Nathan


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