Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Key verse: (13) “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.”
Reflection: For the early church, there was a radical message for those grieving … there is hope in the resurrection, death does not have the final answer. On that first Easter morning, the empty tomb started a new age in history, an age where death no longer held dominion over humanity. The resurrected Jesus entered into this new day as a forerunner for all of humanity, Jesus’ resurrected body is a foretaste for all of us. This hope continues to be life changing and world shattering.
So, how might we hold fast in resurrection hope while grieving? The past few weeks have seen a number of church members and family of members pass away. Grief is real, grief is important to recognize and work through. So what is our hope, and how can we share that hope with others? First, a few things that hope in the resurrection is not. Hope in the resurrection does not mean that death or suffering isn’t real, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be sad, it doesn’t mean that you can’t miss someone. However, in the midst of grief, in the midst of suffering and death, in the midst of sadness, we dare to hold onto the hope in Jesus that there is new life awaiting us, life free of pain, suffering, and isolation. Hope in the resurrection means we are able to live through grief with an eye to the future. In some ways, hope in the resurrection doesn’t get rid of grief, but allows us to fully enter into it and go through it out to the other side. May we hold onto this hope, this hope which opens us fully to our lives now, which leads us through death, and into our promised life with the risen Lord.
Whether you have lost a loved one lately, or grief has followed you for years, or whether you have a friend who is grieving, may you know the hope of our risen Lord who dwells with us wherever we are and leads us into the future. May we be that lived hope for one another, not hurrying anyone through grief or ignoring the pain that is real, but dwelling with others and leading each other by the power of the Spirit into the hope of new life.
Prayer: Holy God, we give you thanks for the hope you give us in the resurrection. Be with us in our grief, guide us into new life trusting and hoping in you. Empower us to sit with others who are grieving and may our presence be a sign of hope. Through Christ we pray. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].