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Posts Tagged ‘grief’

For All the Saints

Psalm 116:15 and Revelation 14:12-13

Psalm 116:15

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

Revelation 14:12-13

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. They are blessed indeed, that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

I.  Memorial Day and Death

A.  Memorial Day

Decoration Day honoring soldiers who died in was

B.  My First Experiences with Death

3rd Grade – Cindy Clayton’s Dad

6th Grade – Ellen and then Popoo

C.  A Ministry Constantly in the Presence of Death

Hospice, Grandmother, Thorhauer

D.  Difficult Ones

Close Friends … Willem and Kish

Last Week – Bob McMichael

E. Jen and Julie

II.  Death is not a Foreign Language

A.  Ministry has made me comfortable with death and dying

Yet neither easy or seeking

B.  As a Pastor People Turn to Me for Comfort

An expectation for words

Despite extensive post-funeral praise

You said the right thing

C.  I stumble and struggle for words

Can be spoken so easily, so casually, so confidently

But can be as empty as the breeze

Halfway through every funeral

I wish someone else was speaking

D.  My comfort is not from practice or experience

I still weep and am at a lose for words to explain

E.  I read a lot of scripture

At least 8 at every service

Scripture expresses well what we feel and hope but cannot express.

III.  Today’s Scriptures are 2 which I Never Use

A.  Yet they express truth in which I find comfort and hope

B.  Psalm 116:15

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

C.  Expresses God’s emotion at death

Death is precious to God

Must mean He does not grieve as we do

For God, death is a gain, not a loss

D.  Are all death’s a gain for God

This passage does not say that

  A gain when only a saint dies

E.  Who is a saint in God’s sight?

Not the over achieving goodie-two-shoe believer

We are all sinners, depraved, who fall short of God’s standards

None of us can qualify as self-made saints

(even though we may be self-righteous about our standing with God)

F.  The Hebrew Word for saint is hasid

A meaningless, foreign word for many

Hasid’s etymology is interesting

It’s guttural root, without Hebraic pointing is HSD

The famous HSD word in Hebrew is hesed

Hesed is God’s everlasting steadfast love and mercy

==> Translators to define hasid as

Those who have received God’s everlasting steadfast love and mercy

G.  The saints God finds precious at death

Are those who have received His mercy/grace

God does not waste His love for us in our death

IV.  The 2nd Scripture – Revelation 14:13

A.  “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. 

They are blessed indeed, that they may rest from their labors!”

B.  Familiar words from the hymn For All the Saints

For all the saints, who from their labors rest.

C.  Life is hard, difficult, a struggle, filled with suffering

A reality balanced with blessings and joys, and meaning

But let’s face it, life is hard

D.  At death, for the saint, the difficult labors of this life are done

Just as we long for weekly rest – TGIF

Just as we long for retirement at some point

At death we enter into eternal rest from the labors of this life

E.  Those who are left behind, grieve their loss

Yet, death, for the saint is rest

F.  We all have watched loved ones struggle in pain

Physical and emotional pain is no more at death

V.  Funerals are Approached with Dread

A.  This explains our propensity to ask for a

Memorial Service or Celebration of Life Service

B.  These services are meant to put a happy spin on grief

I understand that, but also recognize grieving is critical

C.  This leads to always reading Revelation 21:1-7 at Services

Particular imagery in the passage

Highlighted last week at Bob McMichael’s Service

D.  Nancy’s onset of dementia => confusion about what was happening

Just before the service, she told her daughter

It’s Susann’s Wedding …

E.  Earlier I had sent the bulletin to the local clergy as Wedding Bulletin

Decided to focus on the wedding motif

F.  The funeral for the saint is a marriage in heaven

God comes, God unites, God holds,

God commits and covenants Himself to the saints who have died

VI.  As We Celebrate Memorial Day

A.  We can rejoice

B.  For the saints who gave their life in battle

Have been wed to God in heaven

C.  Just as we decorate graves in honoring remembrance

Our Lord decorates His heavenly kingdom

Including adorning Himself for the Wedding ceremony and Feast  as He weds Himself to

Saints who are precious in His sight and who have died

D.  They leave us to go to Him

Death is a marriage to celebrate as much as a loss to grieve.

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Oh, how slow grief is to come to understanding! 

Grief is ignorant and does not even care to learn. (1)

.

Grief is 100% pure emotion!

There is nothing in grief which is rational.

Grief can only be felt!

There are no words which can soothe and comfort the heart aching in grief.

Grief will not be denied!

.

Parents ask me, “How do I explain this to the kids?”

My answer is, “You can’t, so don’t!  Just love them.  Be with them in their grieving!”

They then ask, “Isn’t there something in the Bible I can tell them?”

.

In Psalm 23, David says,

“God was with me when I walked through the valley of the shadow of death … His presence comforted me!” (2)

In Matthew, Jesus says,

“Come to me all you who are overburdened …you will find rest for your souls … I am with you always!” (3)

.

God and Jesus are short on words, but long on presence and compassion.

They do not offer an explanation.

Instead they offer their hearts.

They know what they are doing.

Thanks be to God!

+ + +

  1. Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 169). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
  2. Psalm 23:4
  3. Matthew 11:28 and 29 and 20:28

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