Grief Sermon 5/24/2020

Grief Sermon

Grief … is surrender.

Matthew 5:1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.


4 Stages of Mourning

7 Beatitudes – “Be” Attitudes

Upper Room 5/16/20
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – Matthew 5:4 (NRSV)

In July 2012, my wife Joyce died suddenly within 48 hours after shepherding me back home to Oklahoma after emergency surgery in Florida to save my leg. I was bereft. Not only was Joyce my best friend, my wife of 35 years, and the mother of our two children; she was my partner in ministry and a multitalented musician and university teacher with a radiant personality.

Two blessings were critical for me in her loss. First, a conviction that Jesus knew what he was talking about when he said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” There were many days — especially in the first two years — when I would weep and scream in the pain of that loss. The scream was not “Why?” just “It hurts.”

The second blessing came the day after Joyce’s death as I heard the Holy Spirit ask me this question: “If you could swap your years with Joyce and not have this pain, would you do it?” My immediate answer was, “Absolutely not.”

Now the pain has dulled and is far less frequent. Every day I have continued to give thanks for Joyce — the life and love we shared and the family God entrusted to us.

Thank you, Jesus, for your presence and guidance through scripture and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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