9/20/23 Devotional from Ed
September 20, 2023
Scripture: Psalm 25:16-17 (CEB)
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.
Devotional: One of the books we use in FLPC's grief group is Good Mourning: Getting Through Your Grief by Allan Hugh Cole, and I like it because it puts things in language that I find relatable. For example, Cole writes that all humans have two things in common:
- We all have the capacity for love, affection, and devotion to others
- We all suffer loss
It sounds obvious, but it took someone else's gift of writing for it to resonate with me. I'm grateful for Cole's gift of writing, and I'm grateful to hear the perspectives and stories of the grief group participants.
Someone else's words are heard each day at FLPC in classrooms, small groups, service projects, FLY, worship, or Kirk Night, and we have the opportunity to learn and grow from them.
We've spent a lot of time at FLPC lately talking about the importance of gathering and community. Gathering helps us learn, share, and teach one another, hallmarks of the Christian faith. When a grief group reads Cole's words on why grief is so hard, inevitably someone is agreeing while someone else wants to discuss it further.
But isn't grieving a highly personal subject? Yes, but please don't underestimate the importance of community. For example, when someone experiences loss, it is common to compare reactions. Am I supposed to feel this way? Am I supposed to think these things? Cole writes, "Experiences of loss usually make us feel strange, perhaps in ways we have never felt before. Sometimes, just knowing that what we go through lines up with what others go through relieves our sense of feeling odd and lessens other types of pain associated with our loss." This "relief" or learning cannot happen in isolation.
Good things happen when we gather. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God's love flows through each of us in different ways at different times. We never know what can happen until we gather and learn from each other. And when we do gather and learn from one another, let's give thanks to God for the unique gifts each one of us has been given.
Prayer: Holy God, thank you for giving each of us special gifts. By your Spirit, empower us to collectively use them to bring love, healing, and wholeness in your world. Amen.
Work Cited: Cole, Allan Hugh. Good Mourning: Getting Through Your Grief. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008.