Good Grief!

Grief is:

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[John 11:17, 33-37]

What emotions can you detect in this passage?

Which emotions are part of grief?

This story ends with Jesus calling Lazarus back to life and all the people are astounded at the miracle. According to the gospel accounts, Jesus brought several people back to life. Most people, however, once they die remain so. That is our experience with death.

Believers in Jesus do have hope, even though while in grief, someone else might have to hold that for them for a while. The hope that Christians have comes from several verses in scripture like this one: [Revelation 21:4]

Eternity will be a wholly different experience than life on earth. Life here can be hard. This promise provides hope for a better future in heaven. Also, not only is there hope in eternity, but in this life as well. Jesus said: [Matthew 5:4]

Mourning is part of grief. God has arranged comfort for those who mourn. Also: [Psalm 23:4]

This is the famous psalm that begins with “The Lord is my shepherd”, written by King David. David used to herd sheep when he was young and understands this metaphor much better than we do today. A shepherd keeps their sheep from all danger, and when tragedy does strike, they take care good of their injured or sick sheep. We might understand a mother/child metaphor better.

What is King David trying to assert through this metaphor?

Do you ever feel God’s rod and staff comforting you? Explain.

The apostle Paul, in the letter he wrote to the believers in the city of Corinth, wrote this: (He LOVES writing run-on sentences, so take your time with this one.) [2 Corinthians 1:3-4]

Who is the comforter of believers?

Who comforts others?

How do we comfort those who are “afflicted”?

(Affliction is 1. a cause of persistent pain or distress as in “a mysterious affliction”; 2. great suffering as in “felt empathy with their affliction” and 3. the state of being afflicted by something that causes suffering as in “her affliction with polio”.) Death of a loved one, severe illness, accidents etc. are therefore all afflictions.

There are (at least) six basic needs in the grief process.

  1. To have the pain witnessed and acknowledged.
    1. Their world has changed forever
    2. Just sit with them, accepting them where they are at.
    3. Do not try to cheer them up. That is dishonouring. No platitudes like, “At least…”!!
  2. To express feelings
    1. For them to find and identify their feelings
    2. Feel the feelings, don’t describe them intellectually.
    3. Take breaks through distractions whenever needed. Touch the feeling, then withdraw. Repeat. Accept grace.
  3. To release guilt
    1. Guilt is about control which was lost. We would much rather be guilty than helpless.
    2. Allow this feeling, talk about it. Run down and explore every “what if” rabbit hole.
  4. Work through old wounds.
    1. “Why me?” is a symptom of an old wound.
    2. Old wounds can be helpful in new afflictions that require grieving.
  5. Integrating the pain and the love
    1. Millions of baby steps towards acceptance of the new reality after the loss. Life will never be the same.
  6. Finding meaning after the loss
    1. Not to find meaning in the loss – it is often meaningless
    2. Meaning is not in the loss; it is in you.
    3. Finding meaning by working through the loss.
    4. Having meaning is a decision to live and honour the loss.

Grief is complex. All of these points are part of it, in no particular order or time-frame. When the world tells us we are “doing grief wrong,” we can rest assured that we are not. Grief is always a personal journey best done with support and without judgment. Lean on friends, family, and professionals as much as you can. It is a personal journey but not one to be taken alone.

Update

Please note that gatherings have moved to Monday evenings. One exception is the October 30 Sunday evening gathering because Halloween falls on the Monday: happy Trick + Treat, little goblins!

On Life After Death

Life Without End, part 1                               September 15, 2022

The Bible mentions life after death many times. This story is one of many. It is a story Jesus told to make a point, so it’s not to be taken literally, like a newspaper story.

Read The Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 16:19-31

What is your initial reaction to this story?

Do you find it fair? – for both the rich man and for Lazarus? For God? For you?

Looking at the last part of the conversation between Abraham and the rich man, what do you think and how do you feel about Abraham’s final answer?

Then read Psalm 19:1-4

Recognizing that most psalms are written as poetry, which then loses its rhyme in translation, how do you understand these verses?

If God’s glory is displayed for all people to see, what reasons might people have for not seeing it, not understanding it, refusing it, etc…

Where do you stand with regard to eternity, belief in God, etc.?

There is truth in scripture, but it has to be understood in a contextual way. It is necessary to learn God’s ways from the stories in the Bible, and then read it all in light of how you have come to understand God – not an easy task. But: John 14:6-7 teaches us that by knowing Jesus, we know God

Observing Jesus’ life, listening to his teachings, understanding his motivation, getting to know his heart all help us to understand what God is like. God cares for the poor, the strangers, the lonely, the outcasts. God heals, restores, and calls people into their family by adoption.

God through scripture, through Jesus, gives us hope that our lives are worth more than is evident to the eye. We all matter. We are here because God made us and loves us, we are a piece of God’s creative genius. However, all of us get damaged in various ways because of the evil that exists. This leads to difficulties in life, requiring healing and restoration to wholeness. One way that happens is through our love of others and gratitude towards God.

Do you see that as being true? How?

Is it easy or difficult? Explain.

 

May the strength of God pilot us, the wisdom of God instruct us, the hand of God protect us, the word of God direct us. Go in peace.

Reframing Life

There is wisdom to be gained. You might think the Bible is an ancient book that has nothing to do with our modern day and age. But wisdom is wisdom. It applies to every age. How do we read the Bible in order to gain wisdom?  That is a good questions, especially when the Bible has been used so often to tell us “how we should live” without taking context into consideration. But throwing the Bible out as an ancient and useless book is not wise either – because there is much wisdom in it that really and truly helps us live more wisely today. For the first half of 2022, we will be exploring Biblical wisdom with regards to money, connection, health, home, and work.

Cornerstone gathers every other Thursday from 5:30-7:30 at Knox Presbyterian Church in Dunnville. Please check out Cornerstone’s Facebook page for up-to-date information on events, gatherings, etc…

We’re having an Easter bonfire on Thursday, April 14!! Mark your calendar and come out to have some down-on-the-farm fun. (Details on Facebook)

Forgive Like Jesus, part 1

  1. The world has much to say about forgiveness, from the Mayo clinic to Oprah. Forgiveness can happen in 6, 12, or 14 steps, depending on which website you look. Positive Psychology defines forgiveness as an individual, voluntary internal process of letting go of feelings and thoughts of resentment, bitterness, anger, and the need for vengeance and retribution toward someone who we believe has wronged us, including ourselves. Sounds pretty straight forward, so why can it be so hard?
  2. God is good. God desires us to be happy, healthy, joyful, and loving life. Forgiveness is God’s gift to us to help make this beautiful life possible. I am sure we all know those feeling of hurt, anger, sadness, or other negative emotions when someone wrongs us and we haven’t forgiven them (yet). That is normal, but it does not have to stay that way. Change is always hard. We are creatures of comfort, and change is not that. We may even be afraid of change, afraid of forgiving someone, thinking it might result in a negative outcome. That also is normal. Still, change is 100% normal, and part of life. To be afraid of change is akin to being afraid of being human. Fear not! Is one of Jesus’ frequent things to say.
  3. Jesus taught a lot about forgiveness, and it’s a little different than the definition from yesterday. We are going to explore what Jesus had to say about forgiveness in this series, and work through our own feelings towards those who have wronged us. Everyone needs to forgive someone at some time. (I found it easiest to practice on my kids when they were little, because they would so easily forgive me when I yelled at them.)

New Series

Late April, a new series will begin on Facebook on hurt, anger, and forgiveness…

Change, Grow, Live!!

January 2021! Who thought the world would make it? God’s still in control, still here, having the sun rise on new day after new day. What will you do with that? Will you do something new this year? Will you dare to grow? Will you truly live? Follow along on Cornerstone’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Cornerstone-Dunnville-261197864484273, for posts and online events for you and your family. See you there!

Hearing God


When there is a moment that causes you to take notice, then take notice! Pause and take a journey around the kairos circle to determine if God is trying to catch your attention, and if so, then what?