Saturday, December 29, 2007

Grief and Semantics

Over the past two months, two things have grieved my heart, assaulted my emotions, and made me want to throw up - the seemingly eminent death of my grandmother and the implosion of my church.

In an odd twist of events, my grandmother is still with us, against all odds, fighting to recover in a rehab facility. Tomorrow will be my last day at the church I have loved and lived among for eight years.

As a result, I have been pondering the wrongness of two common statements.

1.) We lost my grandmother.
Death is not a loss for Christians, especially for the person who died. My grandmother is looking forward to heaven, longing to go Home. When she does go to be with Jesus, we have not lost her. We will not see her again in this life, but she knows Life as it was meant to be.
2.) We are leaving the church.
In a sense, we are leaving the church - the particular local body we have known and participated in for years. But (without arguing Perservation of the Saints and all that fun jazz) we will never leave The Church - the body of Jesus Christ, the Global Church, spread across all centuries and geographical boundaries.

This past week, I was comparing doctrines and theology with my uncle, a Presbyterian pastor, and my dad, an ordained Methodist minister. It was great to compare different viewpoints in a family setting. As we discussed certain things, my uncle said, "Ultimately it comes down to semantics, playing with words. But when you really look at it, these semantics are very important to correct theology."

True theology requires proper perspective. Death is not the end of life. A door closed does not mean death, but rather that God has provided new opportunities yet unseen.

We do not grieve as those without hope, but we still grieve. In grief, however, we cling to our hope, Jesus, and our hearts learn to trust Him when our emotional compass fails.

Jesus, may my heart learn to trust You.

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