Grief and gratitude

Published 12th November 2020 by lucy moore

On 11 November 2020, Roberta Egli from Messy Church USA gave the Facebook Live on ‘Grief and gratitude’. You can see the actual video here and Roberta’s notes are below.
Why Grief AND gratitude?
Grief is not a linear process- but it is a process. Here are the stages of grief, as laid out by David Kessler:

Denial: ‘I can’t believe this is happening in our modern society.’ ‘There’s no way this is happening now.’
Anger: ‘Really? Are you serious? I can’t go out? I can’t do things? I’m furious about that.’
Bargaining: ‘Okay, let me get this straight, if I stay home for 2 weeks, then everything goes back to normal.’
Depression: ‘Wait, this could go on longer? Are you kidding? This is so sad…’
Acceptance: ‘Alright, this is our new reality. What can I do to make this work?’
Meaning: Find, name, and create meaningful moments. Name them and be grateful for them! What we’re dealing with is horrible, temporary, and will end.  We can grow from this.

Psalm 137:1-4 (The Message)
Alongside Babylon’s rivers     we sat on the banks; we cried and cried,     remembering the good old days in Zion. Alongside the quaking aspens     we stacked our unplayed harps; That’s where our captors demanded songs,     sarcastic and mocking:     “Sing us a happy Zion song!”
Oh, how could we ever sing God’s song     in this wasteland?

Captives taken away from their homeland – they were living in a strange new land, with new rhythms, new customs. This exile lasted decades.
During 2020, the world is living in a strange land. What are the things that you have loss over the past eight months? Schedules, travel, school, friends, hugs, coffee with friends at coffee shop, church, meeting together?
Biblical scholars think that it is this time that the Israelites began to worship in ‘synagogue’ – those in exile did not have their beloved temple to worship in. Synagogue is whenever ten are present.
We have been innovating – as we are not able to worship in Messy Church as we had.

Luke 8:40-42, 49-56 (The Message)
On his return, Jesus was welcomed by a crowd. They were all there expecting him. A man came up, Jairus by name. He was president of the meeting place. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his home because his twelve-year-old daughter, his only child, was dying. Jesus went with him, making his way through the pushing, jostling crowd.
While he was still talking, someone from the leader’s house came up and told him, “Your daughter died. No need now to bother the Teacher.”
Jesus overheard and said, “Don’t be upset. Just trust me and everything will be all right.” Going into the house, he wouldn’t let anyone enter with him except Peter, John, James, and the child’s parents.
Everyone was crying and carrying on over her. Jesus said, “Don’t cry. She didn’t die; she’s sleeping.” They laughed at him. They knew she was dead.Then Jesus, gripping her hand, called, “My dear child, get up.” She was up in an instant, up and breathing again! He told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were ecstatic, but Jesus warned them to keep quiet. “Don’t tell a soul what happened in this room.”

Jesus walks alongside all the people in the story.
Begins with Jesus having returned from sending pigs over a cliff in the Gerasenes.
Jesus returns to a crowd, and Jarius arrives.
Then Jesus is interrupted, but stays calm, takes his time, doesn’t rush.
Jesus walks with people where they are – the woman who reached out to touch. Jesus does not scold but he notices her desire for healing, her ‘reaching out’.
Jesus walks with Jarius through the crowds who are weeping at his home, as they laugh at them. I wonder how far they had to walk to get to the house.
I wonder what the girl’s father and mother, Peter, John and James though as Jesus confidently walks into the room where the girl is laying.
The daughter has died when he arrives at the home. People are surrounding the house with tears of deep, deep grief.
The crowds laughed at Jesus, who wouldn’t accept that the girl was dead. Do people think we are made sometimes for believing that Jesus can change things? 

What are the ways we can walk alongside one another during times of grief?

Acknowledge the pain- stick figure with Band-Aids, where does it hurt?
Stick figure
Where does it hurt
Some pain cannot be ‘seen’
Walk alongside
Grief is like a maze—grief Maze
Matching Game
When I feel ___________ I can ______to take care of myself.
Feelings-sad, happy, mad, scared, lonely.
Action Words- laugh, ask for a hug, play, cry, hide under my bed, kick a pillow, talk to someone who loves me, go to my room, ask to leave a light on, play with a friend, run really fast, act grumpy, play outside, draw a picture, listen to music.
Gratitude Journal- picture
Looking back pre-pandemic— what am I thankful for?
What am I thankful for during this pandemic?
What has brought me energy during the pandemic?
When I think about the future- what practices do I want to continue?
Prayer of Examen:
Sleeping with Bread by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, Matthew Linn

Think about:

For what moment today am I most grateful?
For what moment today am I least grateful?
When did you feel good about today?
What was your biggest struggle today, or when did you feel sad, helpless or angry?
When was I happiest today?
When was I saddest?
When did I feel most alive today?
When did I most feel life draining out of me? 

Grief Activities:

Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives you Life by >Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn and Matthew Linn (Paulist Press, 1995)
‘The path forward may sometimes be unclear. And it may be messy. But the shared heart is calling, and we have an opportunity to make lasting shifts toward love and justice in our world.’Kristi Nelson

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