N.T. Wright – Funerals, Hope, & the Grieving of God

I thought this video was quite insightful. This comes from the good folks at Work of the People, who create videos to be used in the context of church and various other communities… check them out!

What are your thoughts on grieving as Christians? What do you think we could do better with our funeral practices? I personally think we need to talk more about the final hope of the renewal/completion/consummation of the created order… the bringing of heaven to earth for eternity.

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  • Timowens79

    today is the 9th anniversary of my mom’s death. very timely vid, I appreciate it.

  • AmyS

    This is timely for our community, as you know. I love the message of hope. I wonder how this might be heard by someone in deep mourning. Sometimes the most faithful people experience periods of hopelessness and helplessness in their grief. Even Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 

  • Julie S

    He has me until he speaks about grieving in “a hopeless fashion”, and “appropriate Christian grieving”.  I disagree with the order of things…it’s pre-emptive.  This hits a bit too close to “should” for me which = shame, which I do not think is helpful especially in this particular conversation.  This can turn or confuse believers and unbelievers alike.  

    It has been my experience that if I enter into grieving with generally no pre-conceived idea of what “should” happen, no idea of “destination”, ie, if it will consume me, if I will lose faith, etc  – engaging in this process essentially causes me to see my ultimate lack of control in this life, it keeps me from seeing my humanity, it’s dishonest.  It has always taken me to a good and beautiful place, over time.   Because, I see again, that I am not God.  It is a humbling, exhausting, and painful process, but there is fruit at the end.  However, I don’t have to enter it.  

    I disagree with his suggestion that AS you are grieving you need to maintain hope, and that it is “appropriate”.  In my experience, this is essentially the me trying to maintain a sense of control in my life with an ‘answer’, and choosing not to surrender.  I can intellectualize (with hope), numb, deny, eat, drug, and busy myself so that I do not have to face my grief or I can choose to accept this truth and surrender to it.  ONCE  I surrender to the grief and fully express it (safely, alone or with safe and trusted people), then I have the capacity to see more clearly the hope, but not until then.  If I do not grieve completely, such as cleaning out a wound, I will not heal = hope…fully.  

  • I suddenly lost my husband (33) to pnuemonia last February.  I really enjoy what Wright says about being a hopeful griever.  That is something that I try to focus on.  Being a hopeful Christian in the face of suffering is key – it is what endurance is all about.  But, of course, this is all to the glory of God whose peace absolutely surpasses understanding.  I have had friends in awe of the peace I seem to carry during this journey (most of the time I do not see myself). 

     The one thing I didn’t agree with though; however, was the idea of never having questioned God, his love, or what He was doing.  Personally, if my parents were to die at an age appropriate time, from causes that weren’t truamtic then I would expect to react towards God in a way that would glorify him.  When I lost my husband, with a four year old girl and a brand new 4 month old boy, to a illness that completely blindsided us in the middle of a Friday evening?  Oh, I questioned alright.  I think some doubt, some questions, are not only natural but healthy.  That rupture of my faith was in the end what deepened it.  I needed to come once again to the definition of faith, and embrace God and all his mystery.  Not only that but I think it was during that time of doubt I was able to relate more to those who weren’t Christians and struggling with deaths of their own.   With that being said, I also think as Christians that time of doubt must only be a season, and choosing to leave it is vital. 

    Beautiful video Kurt, I plan to share it with the other widows I know.  Thank you for sharing.  Here is my story http://theyoungwidowsrant.blogspot.com/ 

  • AndrewH

    My father passed away three weeks ago in a farming accident, young and full of life. His death is two years to the weekend from the death of my son.

    Needless to say, I’ve been on a journey grief for sometime and will continue sit at the “mourners bench” for some while (as Wolterstorff puts it)

    This video cared for my soul. Thanks for sharing.