04/02/17 - "Pain, Promise, Prompt" - Gospel: John 11:1-45
 
    It has been said that true sorrow is utterly implacable.  There is no recovery from it.  It is without and beyond hope. 

            “Nothing you can say will ever make it better.”  I once had a little girl utter these words to me, and she meant it.  Her mother had died, and for her, in that moment in time, life came crashing down.  The circumstances of mom’s death were tragic, and the little girl blamed herself, her father, God, anyone who could have; who should have done something; said something…  Even my telling her that Jesus loves her mother seemed empty to her.

            Over the weeks and months that followed we spoke often, and slowly but surely she was able to step back from the immediacy of that pain, and at least entertain God’s promise that there was something more; something beyond death.  She was beginning to move from pain to promise.  “Not only does Jesus love your mother, he loves you!” I told her.

            But then, it happened again.  A friend of hers in her school lost a brother in a car accident.  Alcohol was involved.  Again she was devastated.  “How could God….” began the same old refrain.  God didn’t, I assured her, sin did.  She saw the logic in this, but was desperate to find something to say to comfort her friend.  So now she was moving from Pain to Promise and finally was Prompted to go out and share something of the hope that she had found in her sorrow.

            Life is full of heartache and sorrow, and in the final analysis, the only answer to any of it is God’s grace-filled promise of resurrection.  And that promise must be embraced in faith or it will feel hollow and empty.  And if it is, there is a concomitant sense of urgency about sharing it.  For now we, who have known the darkness of death, can proclaim the hope of the resurrection and life that is for us all.  And only because, and all because, God loves us!

 

            Peace and grace,

 

            Pr. Luther