Bible Readings and Devotion for September 12, 2020
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Devotion for September 12, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Grief is a hard thing. Most, if not all, of us have experience grief. Grief is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as, “Intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.” We most often connect the idea of grief with death, but that is not the complete picture. Grief can be experienced in many parts of our lives. We can have grief due to a loss of a relationship, the loss of a job, the changes of life, empty nest situation, loss of a home due to sale or a move, and so much more.
At funerals in our tradition there is a Bible verse which is read as part of the beginning liturgy. The liturgy from Lutheran Book of Worship 1978 (LBW) notes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of all mercy and the God of all consolation. He comforts us in all our sorrows so that we can comfort others in their sorrows with the consolation we ourselves have received from God,” to which the congregation replies, “Thanks be to God.”
This is a paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, which read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.”
For the context of grief and loss, this takes the general principal of, “Blessed to be a blessing.” Just as the Patriarch Abraham was given much, and was called upon to use that to be a benefit to others, we, too, are comforted in our sorrow by God so that we can also be a comfort to others. We get to use our experience with God’s work with us in grief to help others in their times of life.
Our benefit to others can take many forms. One part of this is when we listen to those who are grieving. We can listen without trying to solve their problems nor showing condemnation. The second benefit to others is when we share our stories of grief. By telling our stories we can help others know some important truths. Among those are that they are not alone in their grief, for now they know that others have gone through such experiences. We can also help them see that grief is not the end. There are many things through which they will go, but, with God’s help and the help of others, we can live through grief and live beyond the most difficult moments.
Our care for those who experiencing grief is a godly calling, founded in the Word of God. All of us can help others. All of us can be agents of God’s sure and strong comfort for others in their times of great loss.
Almighty God, your love never fails, and you can turn the shadow of death into daybreak. Help us to receive your word with believing hearts, so that, confident in your promises, we may have hope and be lifted out of sorrow into the joy and peace of your presence; through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen