As our church staff spent time this morning pouring over Holy Week preparations, we were reminded that this month offers many anniversaries for those in our congregation. Not happy anniversaries, but anniversaries of losing dear loved ones. Last year around this time brought much heartache to our church as we lost four dear folks in a very short period of time. We all became very still today when we realized that this would be the first Easter these families will spend without their dear loved one. I believe we were all struck with a deep sadness and, honestly, it has stuck with me all day.
I always try to take time during Holy Week to remember that I shouldn’t jump from the joy of Palm Sunday to the joy of Easter without taking time to experience Good Friday. In all honesty, it is easy to jump from joy to joy without the sadness. But, we can’t have the resurrection without the crucifixion. Pain and grief are simply part of the fabric of our lives, and during this week in particular we are reminded of the suffering and grief we experience through death.
There are many scripture passages that bring comfort during times of grief and sadness, but this one sticks out to me: 3 May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! He is the compassionate Father and God of all comfort. 4 He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people who are in every kind of trouble. We offer the same comfort that we ourselves received from God. 5 That is because we receive so much comfort through Christ in the same way that we share so many of Christ’s sufferings. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5, Common English Bible)
If you are experiencing grief or sadness right now – perhaps you are grieving the loss of a dear loved one or experiencing other pain in your life – remember that through suffering and heartache, the Lord is always with you. Scripture promises this. The Lord comforts, the Lord offers strength, and the Lord can heal. My friend, I invite you to give your sadness, your burdens to the Lord today. And, may the joy of Easter bring you peace.