The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In Grief You Truly Learn Where You Stand

In my life, I like to ask a lot of questions, push a lot of boundaries, and play with a range of options. I have been known to use doubt as a tool and an incentive for research and further understanding (as every archaeologist does ... or any scientist, social or otherwise). But, I have to say, in times of grief, you don't have these luxuries. In times of grief, you really learn where you stand and what you believe in. Recently, a beloved family member died and was buried on October 31. I was asked, as a trained pastor, first to provide the closing prayer, and then, upon meeting with the pastor who would perform the service, to create and deliver the eulogy. After initially bridling at the idea, I agreed. The pastor asked for verses for the service, and here some of my bedrock beliefs surfaced immediately, taking me by surprise. I asked for Paul's beautiful exposition on love in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-13:

4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant
5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 
6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.7It bears
all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end;
as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.
9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 
10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 
11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 
12For now we see in a mirror, dimly,* but then we will see face to face.
Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been
fully known. 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;
and the greatest of these is love.

I also asked for verses from that often mysterious and beautifully poetic apocalyptic book of Revelation, 21: 3-4:

'See, the home* of God is among mortals.He will dwell* with them; 4 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.’ 

In these verses I encountered some bedrock beliefs on mine concerning us all and concerning the present situation of our departed loved one (speaking for family and friends here). I might have added this from Revelation 22, as it gives me comfort, but is  perhaps a little too mysterious for most:

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.they will be his peoples,*and God himself will be with them;*

You can learn a lot about yourself when you grieve.  

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