Day Thirty Eight: God is with Us in Our Grief

To live is to lose. This year, one of my dearest friends, something I’ve loved in a caring way for over forty years, died of cancer. I was stunned at the diagnosis and still struggle to imagine a world without my friend my blond, California friend Wendy. We boomers are discovering mortality, but so is everyone else. I have lived with the threat of death in family and my closest friend is living with cancer.

Grief is an inevitable season of life. We grieve what we love and those whom we love. Grief and gratitude go together, for our grief is grounded in the reality that your life matters to me, that you have brought joy to me, that I can’t imagine life without you.

Yet, all of us grieve – whether the loss of a loved one, a relational break up, the loss of a job, the aging process, or changes in our environment. When we grieve, we share in what Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel called the “divine pathos,” God’s own suffering in the world. But, we also grieve with hope, trusting that God is moving in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones. That our grief will lift, and we will be able love more deeply and care more fully.

Today’s affirmations invite us to join grief with healing, in light of God’s everlasting love.
God is with me in my grief.
I embrace my sorrow, because God is my companion.
I am grateful for those whom I’ve loved.
I place my loved ones in God’s everlasting care.

Bruce Epperly is a theologian, spiritual guide, healing companion, retreat leader and lecturer, and author of nineteen books, including Holy Adventure: 41 Days of Audacious Living; God’s Touch: Faith, Wholeness, and the Healing Miracles of Jesus; and Tending to the Holy: The Practice of the Presence of God in Ministry. He has taught at Georgetown University, Wesley Theological Seminary, Claremont School of Theology, and Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is currently theologian in residence at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He can be reached for lectures, retreats, and seminars at bruceepperly@gmail.com

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About Bruce Epperly

Rev. Bruce Epperly, Ph.D., serves as Pastor at South Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Centerville, MA. Prior to coming to Cape Cod in 2013, he served on the faculties and often in administrative and chaplaincy roles at Georgetown University, Claremont School of Theology, Wesley Theological Seminary, and Lancaster Theological Seminary. Bruce is currently a professor in spirituality, ministry, and theology in the doctoral program at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. He has served as pastor or interim pastor of congregations in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. He is the author or co-author of over 35 books in the areas of theology, spirituality, ministerial excellence and spiritual formation, scripture, and healing and wholeness, including Process Theology: Embracing Adventure with God; Finding God in Suffering: A Journey with Job; From Here to Eternity: Preparing for the Next Adventure; and A Center in the Cyclone: Clergy Self-care in the 21st Century.


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