Magazine article The Christian Century

Grief and Glory

Magazine article The Christian Century

Grief and Glory

Article excerpt

To see glory in the death of another human being is difficult if not impossible. Jesus is presented in this text as feeling the loss of Lazarus and the grief of those who loved him: Jesus wept. I wonder if his tears were due not only to Lazarus's death but to the fact that he saw that others did not grasp who he was, the resurrection and the life.

Martha acknowledged him as Christ, but her awareness did not take away her grief. At different points both she and Mary approached Jesus to express their grief and disappointment. "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." So much is stimulated in us when we face death. We search for answers that are beyond us.

Weeping, suffering and death are presented in the text as some of life's facts. But there are other facts as well. Jesus embodies hope in the presence of death, and a hope that persists after the death of those whom we love and care about. The text presents us with an insight difficult to accept. God is touched by our sorrow, pain and grief, but, as in all situations, we are to seek to see God's glory.

"Daddy, why did God take Jasmine from me?" my daughter asked after the sudden death of my four-year-old granddaughter. When and why we die can never be fully understood. Death, and particularly the death of a child, pushes us to the limits of human reason. We can accept it as part of life, even though we do not understand why God lets us experience such pain and loss.

Accepting life's wholeness means facing and dealing with death and with how God may give us a sense of God's assurance in all that we experience. God is concerned that we see God's presence in our times of pain and joy. To see God's glory in our grief does not mean denying the reality of death. Nor does it mean rejecting the feelings that it provokes. Seeing the glory of God does not prevent us from having a crisis of faith brought about by sickness, sorrow and death. Having faith in God can be one of the few or only things we feel we have left after everything else that matters is gone. It is a faith that does not answer our questions of loss but embraces us with hope. This hope allows us to live with integrity and vitality in the face of death. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.