Saturday, November 05, 2011

Reflection for "Journey On; a service of remembrance and thanksgiving"

First of all, I need to congratulate each one of you who is here today
You are making one of the hardest journeys that we ever have to manage– and whether the losses that bring you here are recent and raw or quite distant in time now, you'll know that each day you keep on going represents a victory for hope and courage.

But you'll know too,that however much you are surrounded by the love of family and friends, this journey of grief can be a lonely one...especially as days turn to weeks, and weeks to months.
After a while, you may feel that you really ought to stop crying – that you should be pulling yourself together....
Probably, you know, you shouldn't.
If you still need to weep, then weeping is good...
And it seems very likely that those whom you worry you are worrying are still more than willing to be there beside you, come what may.

But I know as well as you that it can be hard to believe that when you wake in the small hours to an emptiness that it seems that nothing can fill...
It may seem that your grief is something that you HAVE to go through alone...that actually, nobody much cares how many hours of your life you spend in weeping, how many oceans of tears you may shed

But, you know, in reality you are NEVER alone in your sadness.
David, the king of ancient Israel who was no stranger to grief at the loss of a child, discovered that even when he felt most lost and abandoned, God was still there.
He wrote
You keep track of all my sorrows.
      You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
      You have recorded each one in your book. (NLT)
I love the image of God keeping all our tears in a bottle. The sadness that each tear represents matters as much to Him as it does to us...The tears of the families bereaved in the M5 crash, and those bereaved through terrorist violence.
The tears we weep for those we've lost and those we weep for hopes disappointed, for broken dreams.
It is hard to fathom God collecting every single one, but He does. He notices and He records each tear, each lament...and mingles them in one bottle with the grief of his own Son, the tears shed by Jesus.
Jesus wept! Its the shortest verse in the Bible but there's such a weight in those two words.
Jesus wept when he learned of the death of his friend Lazarus. Knowing that death was simply the ending of one chapter – with a whole wonderful story still to look forward to...perhaps even knowing that for Lazarus at that time, death would be transformed by resurrection in a matter of hours.....knowing all that, still Jesus wept.
He wept, I think, not so much for the loss of his friend but because he recognised and shared the pain of the mourners, because in his compassion he felt the overwhelming grief of humanity as we lament our own tragedies and losses.
For Jesus, as for each of us, those tears are a sign of love. It's love that is the meaning of our message in a bottle..and the things of love are always things to treasure.
So weep if that feels right...and even if you remain dry eyed, know that the feelings of love and loss that you are dealing with are so precious to our God that he stores them forever, close to his heart....and know, too, that the day is coming when God will wipe all tears from our eyes, when there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.......for all these things will pass away.

1 comment:

Still Breathing said...

Lovely and I read it not long after reading (looking at?) this: