We have truly been in a year of Lent. I’ve talked about this many times, but this year has not gotten any easier, and as we look to the future, we’re still wondering when this is all going to end. What we have all experienced during this time is a great sense of loss and the grief that comes with loss. It’s a little different for each of us, but we’re also all in the same boat together.
As we come to the actual season of Lent, the season we’re currently in as a church, I look for meaning in the loss and grief we have experienced and the loss and grief we know we will experience, that we know is coming.
I was recently reading a book by Melissa M. Kelley called Grief: Contemporary Theory and the Practice of Ministry, and she writes:
…wholeness may emerge from the brokenness of grief. We may come to see ourselves, others, and life in fuller, more whole ways. We may come to realize how deeply connected we all are. We may come to know that God’s abundant love surrounds us and beckons us beyond our grief, into a hopeful future.
All of this is gift and grace. But not for a moment should we be glib about the grace in grief. For so many, it is a costly grace, emerging from agony and sorrow.
I am very aware that describing the wholeness that may emerge from the brokenness of grief may sound like wishful thinking or happy talk. It may seem to mask or minimize the raw pain of grief. None of this is what I intend. Wholeness doesn’t mean our losses cease to hurt. Wholeness doesn’t mean that suffering can’t touch us. It does. It will. But in everything, God works for good, bringing wholeness out of the brokenness, in love.
We are this massive season of loss and grief and trying to find the wholeness from it. Sometimes that journey seems so overwhelming we can’t even begin to wrap our heads around it. Other times, we catch just glimpses of what the future will be, of the hope God and Christ has in each of us.
That is the Easter message. That is the Lenten message. There is a dark sea of grief and loss we have to walk through, but at the end, there is so much hope, so much life, and so much love as we find God waiting for us, waiting to bring wholeness to our brokenness.