Friday, April 17, 2009

Grieving with Hope: 1 Thes. 4:13-14

This is from Bror's writings on Utah Lutheran. I don't think he'd mind. I'm not sure that I can define what grieving differently is, aside from the belief in the resurrection and leaning on the Christian community and the word--which is of course night and day difference.

The only thing I have found helpful from generic, secular, grief counseling is that grieving is a highly individual process in terms of how it expresses itself and changes. This knowledge has helped me be less hard on others and on myself.

Still, I am at the same time touched and disturbed by the "memorial celebrations" that the non-christian youthful friends of Stefan and Matt have come up with. I don't want to describe them. But it makes me feel sorry for them. I'm still figuring out what makes them do this. This item helps.

Grieving with Hope.
1 Thes. 4:13-14 (ESV)
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. [14] For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

Here are a couple verses in line with the Easter Season. We tend to forget Easter after the first Sunday in Easter. Well it is hard to follow on the heals of that glorious celebration. In reality, though, every Sunday is a celebration of Easter. Easter is the reason we celebrate on Sunday at all. But we don’t grieve as others do who have no hope. It should be noted that Christians grieve, as do all humans. Christians are I think able to grieve even more. Today, people hate grieving. They try to short circuit it. I hear about people wanting to have the memorial “celebrations” at Chucky Cheese. People want the funerals to be light hearted affairs. They are afraid of the reality before them. They grieve with a pretense of celebration. They are afraid of death. But it is precisely because we have no fear of death that we are able to grieve. We have hope we have Christ. He rose from the dead. We know that this is not the last say, death has no hold on us. But it is still painful, saying goodbye to a loved one like that. We grieve. But we have hope we have a resurrection. We don’t need to cower in fear hiding behind fake smiles and sponge cake. We can say goodbye, we can curse death. And we can know that it has been swallowed up forever in the death of Christ. So those who fall asleep in him, will rise with him.
Posted by Bror Erickson


Steve Martin said...

That is an honest look at pain, at grief, at death.

This is reality.

Brigitte said...

My daughter says that when these odd "celebrations" occur, people act like the person is still there, celebrating with them, watching them. But as she says, he is not there.

They are pretending he is there, in the coffin, in the graveyard, in the pub "celebrating", in their facebook messages to him.

But this only works for a while. Everyone has to deal with it honestly at some point, sooner or later. The "memorializing celebrations" don't sustain anyone, just like "memories won't sustain" anyone (Krispin's sermon).

A well founded hope will sustain. Otherwise it will be all death and despair and meaninglessness.