Mar 26th, Blessed Are Those Who Mourn, with Rev. Dr. Steven Koski
A Part of the Series:
Mar 26th: Blessed Are Those Who Mourn, with Rev. Dr. Steven Koski.
We’re no longer required to wear masks.
I’m concerned that we continue to maskour grief, pain and suffering.
Anxiety and depressioncontinues to rise dramatically.
As Richard Rohr says.Pain.
Pain that is not transformedcontinues to get transmitted.
Life is unfair and heartbreaking,and most Earth have jagged edges.
Everyone you meetis silently suffering in some way
longing for a soft place to land,a safe place to tell their story.
For all of you who love trivia contests,
what is the shortestsentence in the Bible?
Reminding us we are never alonein our pain and suffering.
What we hold most in common
is not our strength,but our vulnerability, our tears.
Washington irvin wrote,there is sacredness and tears.
Tears are not the mark of weakness,but of power.
They speak more eloquentlythan 10,000 tongues.
Tears are messengers of overwhelminggrief and unspeakable love.
I was at a funeral where the minister said
there should be no tears today becauseyour loved one is in a better place.
I so wanted to stand up and shout, no.
It all belongs.
Tears are sacred.
I mean, tears are an expressionof your love.
Please be like Jesus.
You’ll be pleased to knowI behaved myself.
And I sat on my pew quietly cringingin that service.
We sang the song, you know the one,our God is an awesome God.
And I grieve for those who were sitting
in a pews who were feeling in that momentthat their God wasn’t so awesome.
Don’t be afraid of tears.
Be afraid when our Earth have become so
calloused defended, protectedthat we have no tears to cry.
We put Kleenex boxesin every single pew in our sanctuary
as a way of saying, your real self,your whole self, is welcome here.
Your grief is welcome here.
Your tears are welcome here.
And it’s okay for you to weep too.
I don’t need one more place in my lifewhere you have to wear a mask pretending
everything’s okay, where you haveto prove something or impress someone.
The Kleenex boxes are a way of sayingyou are never alone in your tears.
Which brings me back to the shortestsentence in the Bible jesus wept.
Why did Jesus weep?
Besides his disciples,Jesus had three very, very close friends.
Two sisters, Martha and Mary,and their brother Lazarus.
The three siblings lived together
in a house in the village of Bethany whichwas just 2 miles outside of Jerusalem.
As Jesus neared the end of his life,he stays with these close friends
every single nightuntil the last one, the day he died.
There’s a lot of literature about howdifficult it is for men to have honest,
vulnerable,authentic friendships and relationships.
Lazarus was a true friend of Jesus,
so Earth and Mary send word to Jesus,lazarus, the one you love, is sick.
Jesus doesn’t go at once.
I mean, he knows if he goes to Jerusalem,he will likely be arrested and killed.
By the time Jesus arrives,Lazarus has died.
I mean, Mary and Martha are heartbroken.
They’re angry, asking Jesus,what took you so long?
Lazarus is already dead.
You could have saved him.
It says, When Jesus saw Mary weeping,
jesus was greatly disturbedin spirit, deeply moved.
He said, Show me where he is buried.
And they said to him, Lord, come and see.
I mean, Jesus knew there was a part
of the story that Marthaand Mary didn’t understand yet.
Jesus knew that death would not be
the final word for Lazarus, as death isnever the final word for any one of us.
Jesus would say to Lazarus,Lazarus, come out.
And Lazarus walked out, grave clothes andall, blinking in the bright midday sun.
Now, Jesus knew that death would nothave the final word, but he still weeps.
I mean, we may deeply trust,we may have the faith that death is not
the final word,but it doesn’t erase our pain.
Jesus weeps with Earth and Mary.
He shares their tears.
He allows them to asktheir tough questions.
He allows them to express their anger.
Jesus knows there is a love stronger thandeath, but he also knows their pain.
Their pain is real.
Their tears are holy.
Their grief is a deepexpression of their love.
Jesus wept, essentially saying, I see you.
I see your pain.
I see your broken heart.
I see your grief.
I’m with you.
Think about the times that you’ve
experienced loss, grief, and heartbreak,and someone tries to help by offering
pious platitudes like,it’s going to be okay.
It’s going to be okay.
Or When God closes a door,god always opens a window.
Those kind of statements make you want
to find that windowand push people out of it.
When people try to cheer you up,
you know, it’s usually about theirown discomfort with the dark.
When life hurts,we don’t need pious platitudes.
Now imagine someone giving you spaceto be brutally honest,
allowing your tears to flow,giving your space to for your anger to be
expressed without judgment,which is more healing.
Each person’s grief and painis as unique as their own fingerprint.
What everyone has in commonis that no matter how we grieve,
we all share a need for our griefto be witnessed and validated.
Research in neuroscience has revealed
that that the part of the brain,the part of the brain that’s that’s
impacted most by life’s trauma and griefbegins to heal
when we have soft places to land,safe spaces to weep and tell our story.
As followers of Jesus,
I can’t think of a more important callingthan to be a soft place to land,
to be a safe spacefor people to weep and tell their story.
This past weekend marked the fourth
anniversary of when my wife Laurie spent amonth in the ICU, fighting for her life.
Laurie and our family continue to heal,and it really helps to tell the story.
One night, they wanted to take Lori offthe ventilator to see how she would do.
She went downhill quickly.
At about 03:00 A.m.,
the doctor said to me,if we don’t reintubate her and put her
back on the ventilator right now,she will die.
He spoke those harrowing words likehe was reading from a Sears catlock.
They reintubated her, but her heartstopped and they had to revive her.
I sat alone outside the room
in the hallway, feeling like my alreadybrittle heart was hurled against the wall,
shattered into a thousand piecesscattered across the floor.
A nurse, whose name I I don’t even know,came and sat beside me.
He placed in my shaking handsa cup of cold water.
I mean tears, just tearswhich is streaming down my face.
He placed his arms around my shoulders,
not knowing that he washolding up my very being.
In that moment, not a word was spoken.
I glanced at himand saw tears on his cheek.
Those tears spoke a languagemy heart understood.
His tenderness gathered the pieces of myheart and glued them back together again.
A cup of cold watershared tears from someone whose name I
didn’t even know,gave me back my heart so that I could go
back into that room and be the presenceof love that I desired to be for my wife.
Jesus weeps with us,gives us the gift of one another to gather
the pieces of our heartsand glue them back together again.
See this picture?
This elderly woman is a widow,and she lives on her own.
She goes to the supermarket every single
day to read booksand mostly not to feel so alone.
The manager of the store put a couch there
for her to sit on, and on his breaks,he sits with her.
This is the world that I want to live in.
Sometimes miracles in this heartbreaking
world are simply good people like you,with kind hearts, who show up in a hold
space for tears, and who, like Jesus,are willing to weep with those who weep.
Someone is prayingfor a miracle right now.
You can be that miracle.
Someone is barely hanging by a thread.
You can be that thread.
It the healing.
For broken hearts in a heartbreaking worldis to love still and to love more.
May it be so.