Our Journey with Grief

THE PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

For the word of God is alive and active. We invite the Holy Spirit to penetrate our thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Let us pray….

We seek Godly wisdom from Scripture. We pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to our hearts and give us strength to persevere with all the saints who went before us. We desire for the Word to touch our hearts and touch us with your fire love to move us in the direction of Christian living and eternal preparation. We look beyond this time and place and the challenge to change the world for God’s glory. We pray in Christ precious name. Amen.

ENCOUNTERING SCRIPTURE                                      Revelation 21:1-7                                   The New Heaven and the New Earth

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

May God bless our understanding of this Holy Word.

TIME WITH GOD’S CHILDREN# 664     “Thy Word”

SCRIPTURE                                                                             Isaiah 25:6-10                                                                Praise for Deliverance

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.  10 For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain.

 

THE SERMON           “Our Journey with Grief”

We all experience grief. It may be the death of a loved one, or the challenge of declining health, eye sight, and/or hearing. When we move to a new community, we can experience loss and grief. After seven years, the final closing with no hope of opening of the GM plant brings grief to our community. Any change in our life, can bring us into a journey with grief. Even when we expect death, closing, or changes, grief can over take our soul.

In Seasons of Solace, Janelle Shantz Hertzler shares the poems and prayers birthed from her grief. She shares her journey of grief and pain in the healing presence of God. Janelle invites Christians to examine their own journey with grief. Our Christian journey begins very similar to those who have no faith. She writes,

“We are all human beings created to feel the full range of emotions no matter what our faith. Different faiths, however, often provide different explanations for life and death, and thus different meaning is found for those who are in grief. For Christians, we do not grieve without hope. Scriptures remind us of the eternal hope for those who have died before us. This is surely a source of comfort—that our loved ones continue to live in the presence of God. Yet the here and now pain of missing our loved ones is also excruciatingly real. And the common faith-based answers can feel like putting a band-aid on a broken limb”

Grief work is not easy for anyone. We all experience grief in different ways and at different times. One person will move to the new normal and make adjustments in life in a few weeks.  Others will take a few steps forward and then grief will overwhelm them again. Others move slow and steady until they are not quite sure how they moved through the grief to the promised newness of life in Christ. While life will never be the same, we don’t remain paralyzed by grief.

The Prophet Isaiah describes the marvelous promise of the Lord our God to prepare a feast for believers. Jews and Gentiles will find comfort in the presence of God, evil will be conquered and we will experience joy. We will participate in a joyful feast, celebrating our faith in the Lord to overcome all our earthly struggles. The Apostle Paul quotes this Scripture to the Christ followers in Corinth. As he describes Christ’s victory over death, we experience the fulfillment of this prophecy. Our ultimate victory in this life comes when death, our last enemy, gets defeated by the cross of Jesus.

The Apostle John reveals Christ’s final victory over death when in the Lord establishes a new heaven and earth. In the new Jerusalem, Jesus lives among His believers forever. We will experience the united presence of our Lord for all eternity. All things will be new. There is no pain, no tears, no evil and no sorrow when we dwell with our Creator who continues to make and recreate our lives as we trust in our final destination.

We hold onto the hope of a better life, eternal life. God promises that the tragedies of this life will not hinder our everlasting joy. The one who established heaven and earth will bring us on a journey to a place of rest and comfort. Our faith will bring us on a journey through mourning to tranquility. Some will experience this new place of comfort in Christ presence through faith in this life. The rest of us will wait upon the Lord’s promise with great expectation in the gift of life to come in heaven.

We give thanks that through Jesus Christ, we can experience grief differently. We will still all travel the journey with grief, but in Christ we remain hopeful that there is be another new day. TGBTG. Amen.

  May 2017  
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