by Barbie Perks
These past weeks have been a process for me, and maybe for many others as well. A process of coming to terms with the changes that have been forced on us, as well as a time to reflect on things we have pushed away because they have been too painful to deal with. Spending Easter locked down and away from opportunities of congregational worship and fellowship have highlighted for me the loss of social contact we are experiencing. As the weeks drag on, silence, solitude and introspection become an opportunity for God to speak into our normally frantic, busy and noisy hearts.
- If this is connecting with you, why not draw up a little mind-map of what you are reflecting on, and see where it leads you.
The Resurrection Sunday Bible reading describes the double sense of loss that Mary experienced at the tomb. First, she was grieving the loss of Jesus, going to find comfort at the tomb, and then discovering the tomb was empty, she seeks to find the body and bring him back to the tomb. When she hears Jesus call her by name and realizes he is raised to life, she runs to him, but is told “do not hold on to me…” (John 20:15-17)
I have a very strong impression that God is telling me to let go of loss today. And it’s not just the immediate loss of having to have my home in Tanzania packed up for me because the landlord wants it back. It’s a cumulation of a series of losses over the years, losses that I have perhaps grieved too long and hard over, losses that I have allowed to define the way I think and behave, losses that have turned me from a carefree, kind of happy-go-lucky personality into a more thoughtful, careful and maybe even dour personality!
- Have you ever thought of how grief and loss might have changed you as a person?
There is a picture in my mind of a person lying on top of a cliff holding on for dear life to something that has fallen over the edge. Energy and strength draining out, and down over the cliff. If she just opens her grip and lets go, she can rest, regain strength and energy, get up and walk away, back into …what?
Leaning into Jesus, with open hands and arms no longer filled with losses that weigh us down. Paul’s words in Philippians 3:7-10 are worth thinking on:
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, … 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own.. but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection …
When we are so busy holding on to the losses that anchor us to that cliff, it is difficult to look up and see the hand of Christ reaching down, it is even harder to reach out with open hands to take hold of the hope of resurrection that Christ offers. Hebrews 6:18b-10a talk about God’s promises to those who believe in him – “…we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…”
- Lean in, open your hands, in faith trust him to heal you from the losses. Let them no longer define you – let God raise you up to be a new creation today.