This Sunday we will continue the second week in our “Wesley Challenge” Sermon series. We are taking the “21 Questions” developed by John Wesley and his friends and choosing them as they pertain to the lectionary. This Sunday’s question is: “Am I Defeated in Any Part of My Life?” I think it fits in beautifully with our lectionary today because so often the thing we are defeated by in life is grief.
Grief can come in many forms and in my 10 years of ministry I have seen the many faces of grief. Grief can be sneaky and sometimes we may not even realize we are grieving. Most of the time when we think about grief we think about the death of a loved one. When someone we love dies we can experience profound grief. Our lives feel like they will never be the same.
When I was twelve years old both of my grandmothers died suddenly. I was closer to one than I was to the other, but even as a child I felt profound grief for their loss. I still experience grief at holidays wishing they were there, but it has lessened over time.
Although this type of grief is very difficult to experience, there are other things in our lives that cause us grief. Grief can be caused by the loss of a relationship. Divorce can be included in this kind of grief, but it also includes the loss of a dear friend or family member that is still alive, but that you are no longer on speaking terms with or you have lost contact with. This is a very difficult type of grief and many people are defeated in this area.
The grief that we talk about the least is the grief that occurs over the loss of a dream. Perhaps you had certain goals or ambitions in life, but for whatever reason were unable to attain them. Maybe you were passed over at work for a big promotion. This is the type of grief that causes regret. We think, “If I only I could have done this one thing everything would have been different for me.” This kind of thinking, this grief and defeat, can creep into all of our days.
I think what is at the heart of this question is what is the area of my life that I cannot get past? What is the thing that I keep thinking about and replaying in my mind over and over and over? These are the things in our lives that keep us living in the past and unable to be present in the here and now and look toward a future with hope.
Our Scripture for this week encourages us to be honest with one another and confess to each other; this is how we can hold onto the hope that comes from our faith in Jesus Christ, by embodying Christ to one another.
Come and hear more about our hope in Christ this Sunday and if you are feeling defeated today know you are not alone. I am here if you need to talk. The power in us sharing with one another shows us that we all have some area in our life where we feel defeated, but when we encourage each other and support one another we find strength in the body of Christ. Thanks be to God! Amen!
Lectionary text for Sunday August 12: 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33, Psalm 130, Ephesians 4:25-5:2
Prayer: Healer of our grief, your Son Jesus Christ knew our grief, he gave himself on the cross so that we would always have hope, no matter what kind of grief we are experiencing. Help us to support one another. Help us to break the silence of our suffering and share with one another so we can help carry one another’s loads. Help us to really see the needs of our family and friends this week and to offer ourselves freely to help all who are grieving. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.