In the past few days, we’ve received the news of the death of two dear saints: Arlene Peterson and Bob MacInnes. Losing someone you love is hard, and even as time passes, the hurt does not go away. If you’ve ever lost someone you love, you know what I am talking about. I often think of one of my seminary professors who lost a young daughter. When well-wishers advised him that he would get over it in time, he erupted. “Get over it? I don’t want to get over it! I’ll always carry her with me. I’ll always hurt. If I didn’t, what would that say about the love I had for my little girl?”
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13, to a church struggling with loss, Paul says, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” Paul says as Christians we’ll grieve, but we’ll grieve with hope. We know that in his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus defeats the enemy of death, but we still mourn the loss of our loved ones. In Christ, reunion will come, but it will not be right away.
Through the years, the church has expressed that grieving hope in various ways. One way is through the music of requiems. A requiem is a musical composition traditionally written for a funeral mass or to commemorate someone who has died. The text of a requiem is strongly grounded in the biblical promises of the Christian faith, particularly the grace believers receive in Jesus Christ and the hope for everlasting life with the Lord. My favorite requiem is composed by John Rutter. Rutter’s Requiem takes us on a journey from darkness (Psalm 130- Out of the depths) to light, climaxing with the words of Jesus to a grieving Martha when her brother Lazarus dies, “I am the resurrection and the Light he that believes in me shall never die” You can listen here:
If you are grieving because of recent or not-so-recent loss, I hope you will find the piece helpful, hopeful, and healing. God gives us rest.
Yours in Christ,