Communal Grief

(One of my close friends is Herman Moldez from Manila, Philippines. He is a passionate follower of Jesus, is influential in the Philippine national Church, mentors pastors and ministry leaders in the ways of Jesus and is a deep and spiritual thinker. I received this from him just yesterday and thought it appropriate to share in this space. Stacy)

​Herman Writes: “One of my painful experiences these days, as others also go through, is to know of friends and fellow workers who died because of covid19. At one time I was reading the post and looking at the photo of a family in painful grieving of losing a family member and another still struggling in ICU because of covid19. All of a sudden I just caught myself flowing with tears and sobbed silently. I experienced a bit of grieving with them.

Because of pandemic restriction and danger so many are grieving with a few if not alone. They weep silently and secretly. Isolation makes grieving much painful and comfort more elusive.

Communal grief is essential to healing and comfort. We say that long separated family members and friends gather either in a wedding or in a funeral.

Death has a way of creating a community of mourners to ease the pain of grief. Mourning with those who mourn by coming together to weep and embrace, listen and lament is minimized if not taken away. Online memorial service may only deepen the painful longing to be present to say the last goodbye.

If we reflect the isolation the pandemic brings it is telling that we can’t ignore one another for we are deeply related not just by blood but in spirit. I hope that our separation from family and friends deepens our understanding of community. May the long isolation prepare us to a better way of being and behaving as a community to celebrate life and more so to comfort those who weep over death.

Grief finds ultimate healing in the God of compassion and the Father of all comfort (2Cor 1:3). God weeps with us. He remembers our sorrows. God keeps a record of our miseries and collect a bottle of our tears (Ps 57:8). In Christ, God took human grief to the cross and has given us hope for healing of all sorrows and tears (Rev 21:4).

Grieve we must as a way to heal in hope. God is at work by redeeming our sorrow into a song so that one day we will rise from mourning to dancing with joy with family members and friends.”

Herman Moldez Manila, Philippines

The King of Kings

There is a culture mindset that Jesus is a wise, effeminate, nice guy. This concept was reinforced by many portraits painted by artistic masters in centuries past. Some of my earliest memories from Sunday school provided this picture in my mind. Others may have different memories or understanding of Jesus. But who Jesus is and what He does is inexhaustible that even libraries of books will not exhaust describing Him (see John 21:25).

What is important to everyone is that He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. At the end of the age, He will come again to deal out justice on evil and set things straight in the world under His rule. This passage helps us understand this reality. This is what will happen in the future.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND Lord OF LORDS.”” (Revelation 19:11-16)

Here are a few questions that might prompt your reflection.

  • What does Jesus do from this passage?
  • How does this confirm or modify your understanding of Jesus?
  • What motivates you from this passage?
  • What might the Lord be asking of you in these days before He returns?

Maranatha (Come Lord!)

Faithful to the End

I’ve been reading in Revelation these days. The Lord has much to say to us as individuals and to the People of God gathered. I was struck at how timely this passage is to us today in the midst of all the violence and turmoil around us. In this passage the Lord speaks clearly. Let us read it and follow the Lord Jesus’ advice.

““And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Revelation 3:7-13)

Here are a few questions to assist your reflection:

  • What most jumps out of this passage to you?
  • What authority does the Lord have?
  • What hope does this passage give you?
  • What might the Lord be asking of you?

Maranatha (Come Lord!)

Suffering

In our Weekly Prayer Update this week, we get a glimpse of the suffering currently going on among ​some of the people in our global MentorLink community. Our partners in Afghanistan, Nigeria, Philippines and Kenya are all experiencing suffering. It’s not a new thing but it is painful or even fearful if you are in it. I can’t imagine, for example, what would be going through my mind and heart right now if I was one who produced or distributed our Days with Jesus video series in one of the two main Afghan languages (Pashto and Dari).

Whether at a national scale or personal scale, suffering is coming our way. For some of us, it is because we are followers of Jesus. The Apostle Peter was no stranger to suffering. Toward the end of his life, and with the perspective of what was happening to Jesus’ followers in many places, he wrote these words:

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” (1 Peter 4:12-19 )

Here are a few questions for your reflection:

  • In what ways are you suffering now?
  • What perspective do Peter’s words give you?
  • What hope does this passage provide?
  • How might the Lord want you to help someone else who is suffering?

Maranatha (Come Lord!)