This exhortation was delivered to Christ Church Downtown on May 23, 2021.
This week, as a church body we find ourselves in a time of corporate mourning, afflicted with the tragic death of a dear brother. And as we are all members of one Body, we certainly feel, even if comparatively so small, a tinge of the pain that is much, much stronger for some of our brothers and sisters.
In the midst of this grief, I am reminded of how we as Christians truly are a peculiar people in this world. Our response to suffering and death is similar in some ways, and yet fundamentally foreign to the world’s response. Yes, we weep and we mourn… we are not called to be unfeeling Stoics. But we do these things with a firm, genuine, and powerful hope.
What makes Christian mourning different is our relationship with the living God—the One who sovereignly gives and takes away—and the One who is also always working all things for our good. We know that He is not distant, but ever-present. He is not apathetic, but more caring than we can fathom. And we know these things firsthand because we have experienced His saving grace through the sufferings of His Son.
It is here, in this gospel, where our hope is found. Our anchor is not in this age, lest we be drowned by these overwhelming waves. Our hope is in God our Savior and the resurrection of the dead, where all who love the Lord will be made whole and dwell in a new land, one that knows not sin nor death.
And so Christian, your duty in sorrow and grief is not to stuff your feelings away or just “get it together.” It is to take refuge in Christ, the One who is near the brokenhearted and delicately binds up all wounds.
And as a church, your duty in ministering to those who are hurting the most is the same—simply point them to Christ. Bring them to Christ. Show them Christ, by word and deed.
This is indeed a time to mourn, but we mourn with Christ by our side, the only One who can wipe away tears forever.