The theme of this Sunday’s service will be grief.
A few years ago someone passed along the adage: “People aren’t afraid of change. They’re afraid of loss.” I’m wary of blanket statements about “people,” but that one sounds more true than not. We naturally protect what we love, which means we regularly push back against change out of fear of what or who we love being lost.
Pandemic aside, modern living is essentially one change after another – culture, technology, habitat. We’re adaptable creatures, but, Wow. With change comes loss, and loss can produce anxiety and fear. And acting out of fear produces all kinds of evils from racism to nationalism to militarism. Some things don’t change.
Fear, which so readily leads to harm and violence against oneself or others is one response to loss.
Which makes me wonder if another response to loss – grief and lament – can be seen as the nonviolent alternative. Grief is a way of dealing with loss in a manner that is ultimately life giving rather than death dealing. Fear matures into hatred, while grief matures into gratitude, even joy. The internal work of grief has intra-personal and even political implications.
May we learn to grieve well, and may gratitude and joy be near at hand.