Friday, June 14, 2024

Dear church family,

This week has been filled with sorrow for several of us. The pain and challenges are heavy burdens to bear. I
hope that you allow yourself to grieve when needed. We don’t always allow space for ourselves to grieve,
choosing to hold it all inside. Of course, no one wishes to have to grieve however, grieving is an important
process that we are to embrace.

It is in our grief that we most clearly hope. The famed preacher GK Chesterton once said, “hope means
hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all….As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is
mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength.”

You are not alone; God is present with you in your grief. The inclusion of the book of Lamentations in our
scriptures helps us to know that grieving is not only acceptable but is expected. The word lamentation is the
passionate expression of grief or sorrow. In this book the laments of the people are cried out to the Lord and
all who will listen. This book is very intentionally organized. I won’t get into all the details here, but I will
share some. The book is 5 chapters long, each chapter the same length and it is in the middle verses of the
middle chapter that an expression of hope is offered.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22-23)

Things might seem hopeless in your grief, but I want to encourage you in your hope. Hope comes through
our faith in the love of God (faith, hope and love). Lamentations reminds us that it is important to recall our
grief and to remember our hope. It is only if we know who God is (a God of abundant and faithful love) that
we are able to leave the bewildering and tragic aspects of life in God’s hands. We preserve our faith in God
in the midst of the tragedy that surrounds us. And that is how we proclaim…

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Though changest not, Thy compassion’s they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

You are loved. You are cherished. You are a child of God.

Pastor Caroline

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
Lamentations 3:24