This evening (Tuesday 28th June 2016) Sr Amy gave a homily on John 11:28-37 for a memorial service led by the chaplaincy team at Nevill Hall Hospital. Here are her words;
Sometimes we can feel like our life is in the gutter, we’ve hit rock bottom, we’re surrounded by darkness and there is no where to turn. We’re down in those murky waters, surrounded by the rubbish life has thrown at us. I’ve felt like that at times, one moment which is prominent in my memory is when my dad died, he was my world and suddenly he was gone and I was alone, surrounded by darkness, but I found hope and I found light. The verses from Johns Gospel which we heard moments ago give me hope, give me comfort and reassure me I am not the only one to grieve and I am not alone in my grieving.
I want to focus on just two words of our reading tonight – the shortest verse in the Bible, verse 35 – Jesus wept. To give some context, Jesus was arriving at the house of some good friends of his, Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Jesus had been asked to go to their house because Lazarus was dying, when he arrived he has passed away. He was greeted by Martha, grieving and confused as to why he didn’t come sooner to heal her brother. Soon Martha goes and collects her sister Mary to come and see Jesus. He seems composed when he first arrives but when Mary and their friends come to greet Jesus he begins to cry, it was coming as a place of anguish. Christ took their pain onto himself. God himself has taken on our humanity in this man. And with it, our feelings. And with them, even our sorrows. We are finite and frail. But God gave us mighty emotions. We celebrate. We grieve. We rejoice. We weep. And we do so with Jesus as one of us.1
The bible says; For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
When we lose someone we love we experience such a wide range of emotions once they are gone. It is important to embrace those feelings, not to fight them but to acknowledge that your grief shows the immense love you had for that person. Grief reminds us that our relationship, our love, our bond was real and that can’t be altered or taken away. There is a time and a season for all things, and we all grieve differently. We may also feel like we are going round in circles and no one can understand what we are feeling, that you’re the only one experiencing this but I want to tell you different tonight.
Christ has taken on your pain, just as he did with Mary and Martha’s. Just as when we see someone we care about suffering and we share in their sadness so does Christ with us, he carries us in our grief and he bears that grief on his shoulders.
I want to encourage you today that you are not alone in your grief. We have come this evening to remember those whom we have loved and still love. Tonight we gather together in our mourning and we do not stand alone, we are alongside one another sharing the memories we have of those whom we have lost. Not only do we have each other this night but we also have a friend, healer and saviour who shares in our grief. There will be good days, there will be alright days and there will be days where you just scrape through but remember – you are never alone. Amen.
Reference 1 from: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/jesus-wept–2