Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursday Thinking - Lenten Grief

Today I will be officiating the memorial service for a dear friend who died last week. I grieve her passing, but I do not grieve as those who have no hope (1Thes. 4:13). I mourn the loss that is ours–her family and friends, but I give thanks for the gain that is hers.

These thoughtful words from the Thin Places Blog are especially appropriate for today:
Lent is a good time for grief. It is a good time to set our sights on Good Friday, on that day when God himself experienced the wrenching reality of death, when God himself suffered with us as fully as he possibly could. It is a good time to feel the pain of separation, to feel the sadness and anger of losing someone beloved. 

And it is also a good time to look ahead to the boundary that God offers to those who grieve–the boundary line of the resurrection, of our celebration on Easter morning. Grief will not end, not this side of heaven anyway. But Easter gives us a reason to hold on to hope in the midst of all the sorrow.

One day, there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Rev. 21:4). Until then, may Lenten mourning prepare us for Easter hope.
These words from next Sunday's sermon text are also on my mind today...
Psalm 42:1-8
As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

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