The Song We Now Sing
Well, it’s been nearly two weeks now since we all received the news that our senior pastor had taken his own life. I can honestly say that it is not really getting any easier yet. There will come a day when life will return to normal and grief and struggle will not be a daily concern, and for each of us it will probably come at a different time, but for now, we will sing this song together.
I was really struck by the idea of singing the song of grief, the corporate dirge that Al spoke about during the funeral service last Saturday. At church, we love to sing songs of joy and hope and love and grace, but songs of grief and pain and sadness just don’t feel right. However, life isn’t so bright and cheery all the time, is it? One thing that grief tends to do for many people is to bring up old grief. Maybe that’s you right now. Maybe you weren’t very close to Dr. Bob, but this whole experience has brought up thoughts and feelings for others that were close to you that have passed. We have an opportunity right now to sing this song together. To journey down this difficult road as a family, as the body of Christ, pursuing after the unanswerable questions, crying, laughing, remembering, but most of all, seeking after the glory of God together.
If you were with us for our morning church services on January 27th, you may have left as many of us did, in awe of God and thankful for a time of worship and celebration like we may have never experienced as a congregation before. That night, I remember thanking God for the gift He gave us in celebrating that service together before we would all suffer so much. Then, Monday came. 400 people came to the church to pray, cry, and seek after God and we lifted up our song like never before shouting victory in God in spite of our circumstances. The funeral became a celebration of life, but also a worship service recognizing that we have a great God. Finally, church on Sunday was a powerful expression of the family of believers crying out to God for a new hope and a new joy which only can be found in Jesus.
Last night, I ran into a friend while enjoying some deep fried poultry at my Thursday evening hangout, and we talked for a few minutes about her thoughts and feelings about the last 2 weeks. Her sister attends a different church, one of the many that served us so joyfully last week, and she asked my friend how things were going at Trinity. “Awesome,” she replied. Awesome??? What kind of answer is that in the midst of such tragedy? Well, I think it is the right one. No, things are not easy, they are not fun, joyful, peaceful, happy, or any number of “good” adjectives we might conjure up, but it is “awesome.” It is awesome to see the hand of God working, the body of Christ serve us without even blinking, our own church come together in an incredible way, a grieving family loved on and cared for even by people they have never met. God is awesome. He will continue to be awesome and continue to light our way and show us His love and grace in ways we cannot even comprehend right now, and I look forward to it.
But, for now, we will sing this new song, and we will sing it with sadness, but also with hope and courage. We will sing because we know our God is worthy of our worship, especially when tragedy strikes. We will sing because He first loved us. We will sing because we cannot do anything else. Then, we will watch as God heals, restores, strengthens, and reignites His church for His glory, honor and praise.