Resources on grief and worship

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{image} Georges Rouault, “Miserere #2

I’ve been thankful for the postings over at “My Song in the Night” on grief, lament and worship.  My wife and I lost our first child a few years ago and we have found so few sojourners willing to sit with us in the “valley of the shadow of death.”

If you know of other great resources let me know.

ARTICLES
Bobby Gilles – Recovering the Lost Practice of Lament
Kristen Gilles – 
Strength to Worship in Every SeasonHow to bear with loss and the waiting
John Patton – How to Mourn with the Parents of Stillborn and Miscarried Children
Nancy Guthrie – Grieving a loss
(Pj and I spent a weekend with Nancy, her husband David, and 10 other couples who had lost children.  You can find out more about their “Respite Retreat” here.)

Michael Card and Calvin Seerveld – Bringing Our Pain to God: Michael Card and Calvin Seerveld on biblical lament in worship

Dan Allender – The Hidden Hope in Lament

MUSIC

To God I Made My Sorrows Known (Isaac Watts – Psalm 142)
mp3 | leadsheet (Southern Harmony – Poland)

——

Here is a priceless list of suggestions on caring for those who grieve from the John Patton article above:

Comforting Those Who Wait for the Resurrection

Death, that most hateful of things, awaits every one of us, yet its sting is unique when it takes a helpless babe.  While we believe Jesus conquered death at the cross, we wait for the resurrection to fully realize the death of death. Until then we must bear the burdens of and mourn with those around us.

The comfort and hope of the resurrection give us great resources for responding to those in your community who have suffered the pains of miscarriage. Here are six thought to keep in mind as you comfort and console.

  1. Be content simply to “mourn with those who mourn” (Rom. 12:15). Know that your words of comfort will not be much consolation in the short run, even if you have experienced miscarriage yourself. As with most other kinds of loss, each person’s experience is profoundly different.
  2. Don’t try to be the hero. Your may desire to utter just the right words that will bring healing and resolution to mom and dad’s pain. But that desire may arise more from your own struggle to reconcile the reality of death with the hope of Christ than from the need of those suffering to hear your words.
  3. Remember mom. Her pain will linger after most people have ceased asking about it. Don’t be afraid to broach the subject and encourage her six, nine, or even twelve months after the fact.
  4. Remember dad. A miscarriage is not a set of circumstances in which mom suffers the pain and dad gives support. It’s tempting to think that mom bears all the pain, but a father feels helpless in his own way. He needs much love and encouragement.
  5. Be patient.  My wife and I have struggled over and over again to choose worship and dependence rather than despair or indifference. Sometimes we have failed. Be patient with those who seem not to be “getting over” their loss. Pray for the truth of God’s goodness to break through. Love, love, love on your friends who have lost.
  6. Read them the Psalms. Just pick them up and start reading. They give lyrical shape to the confusion, anger, pain, relief, hope, and every other possible emotion the suffering feel. Reading the Psalms helps us to live emotionally with a doxological mindset. Psalm 34 has been a key text for me.


(Illustration by Wes Bausmith / Los Angeles Times)

Here’s a great article on the “Ring Theory of Kvetching” from the LA Times that a friend sent me.  Total Gold!

“Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, “Life is unfair” and “Why me?” That’s the one payoff for being in the center ring.

Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.”

2 thoughts on “Resources on grief and worship

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