Grief is Worship
October 21, 2022
"...Offer your bodies as living sacrifices..."
Dear Friends and Family,
I pray your spirit is well this week. This has been an intense week of counseling. The peak of the hardship included doing an intake for an 11 year old child who, five years ago (so at age 6), found a sibling deceased in their own bedroom. The death was ruled an accident but the child carries a weight of self-blame. The child told the mother recently, "I blame myself."
Additionally, yesterday was a significant day. It would have been the 8th anniversary of my late wife's the kidney transplant. I gave her my left kidney on October 20, 2016. My permeating thought, however, was gratitude. Despite the history of grief, I truly am grateful God made this part of our story.
So while October was designed to be a month on Wisdom, I regret I haven't been able to finish a piece on Ecc 1:15 and 7:13 that I've been working on. Instead, we will detour today by pointing you to a concept I recently reflected on through a podcast by CCEF.
Grief is Worship
If we think about it, this may make sense to us. The grief response to pain and suffering is not only natural, but when appropriately taken to the Lord, serves as an offering of worship. Grief, viewed in this sense, makes Romans 12:1 come alive in a new way:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship.
What is involved in grief? Answer: Tears, sobbing, the pangs of loneliness and hurt, turmoil of anger and confusion; shame and terrible unrest, (to name just a few things). We can feel this loneliness in our bodies. We feel the hurt in our chest; we feel the anger our guts and the persistent confusion of racing or unsettled thoughts in our minds.
All these things happen in our body, and we feel it in our body.
When Paul urges us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, he acknowledges that the entirety of our worship life is not totally immaterial head-stuff. Rather, as we grieve, the body groans. And while the body groans in its distress, we can offer even our bodies to God as part of our total worship.
But Paul goes further...when we do this, we are engaged in true worship.
Unfortunately, for many of us, myself included more than I care to admit, it is very possible for us to go through the motions of worship, particularly with out bodies, but never actually worship.
Why? Well, quite simply we are afraid, or we are ashamed, or we too heady, or we are too self-conscious, or we too proud, we are too self-righteous.
Dear friend...what stops you from true worship?
I pray this podcast serves you and stirs new hope that your grief isn't a barrier to worship; rather, it is a mechanism and means of engaging in worship like you've never worshipped before.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen!
Looking to the risen Christ