Unconsolable Grief

child grieving
“O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.”
Psalm 80:4-7

We have entered a time of grief like none other in my lifetime. And my life has been filled with grief experiences, it’s part of being a pastor I guess, for not only do we proclaim the gospel weekly, but we enter into your community’s deepest grief as they lose a family member or friend through death. Those deaths are almost always within the congregation, so it is a form of communal grief.

Yet what do you do when this grief is not just for a congregation but for the whole world? That is where we are now and as a country we don’t seem to be able to grieve the losses. I believe that is a profound failure in our leadership, but I won’t go there beyond that. What I’d like to do is share a type of communal lament that our Jewish brothers and sisters have been doing for centuries, the quote above is from a lament Psalm. The video below is called Tisha B’Av is regarded as the saddest day in the Jewish calendar and it is thus believed to be a day which is destined for tragedy. We are in such a tragedy and do not know how to grieve. You will grieve as you watch the video and I will admit it will invoke strong reactions, so please watch, but be aware of what you might feel.

John Hergert

John Hergert

Retired ELCA Pastor

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Tami J Robinson

    Thanks John, we all have much to grieve. This helped me to understand the sadness I have been feeling.

  2. Mike Berry

    Things like this make me glad to say John has been my friend for 47 years. Well done, my friend, well done. Thanks.

  3. Sharon

    Thank you. That tells it all.

  4. Penelope J Smith

    …………brightness bleeding through cracks in the darkness!

  5. Lin Carlson

    This is beautiful – just what I needed – naming the losses is healing. Its amazing how we are globally experiencing these losses. May the Holy Spirit lead each of us in how to shine as lights in this isolated world, and teach us how to reach out.

  6. Mary Braudrick

    Thank you, John, for this. It’s so complete in its scope of lament, & uniting in its message of communal comfort.

  7. Tami McHugh

    Well done, my friend. This touches on so many emotions that are hard to express.

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