On Sunday, November 12, 2023, we delved into 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NLT).
I wanted to remind you of the power of words—especially those that are written and shared—to capture and convey deep emotions across time, even after we depart from this reality. Paul, the author of 1 Thessalonians, wrote a letter to the church in Thessalonica that continues to create positive ripples within the church today.
At the heart of the lesson are the famous words of the Apostle in 1 Thessalonians 4:13: "So you will not grieve like people who have no hope." Paul aimed to inform the church about the fate of those awaiting Jesus's return who had passed away, or in his words, gone to sleep. He endeavored to uplift the spirits of the church members, to commend their accomplishments, and to reassure them that no believer, dead or alive, would be forsaken—that all would meet Jesus. Yet, he acknowledged the human experience of grief, a force that we must either master or be mastered by.
We explored the multifaceted nature of grief. Even Jesus experienced grief—when he was betrayed, denied, and especially when he wept—because grief is not solely about death. It encompasses the sorrow we feel over lost energy, relationships, or a sense of purpose.
As I approach my 40th birthday—a milestone I will mark without the traditional birthday call from my beloved grandmother, "La niña Jose" (Jossie), who passed away earlier in 2023—I shared how this personal loss underscores the universal experience of grief in its many forms.
I stressed the significance of grieving with purpose, inspired by Paul's letter to the Thessalonians. Paul's message was unequivocal: believers should not grieve in despair but with hope and the reassurance that our faith provides. This belief deeply resonates with me, particularly as I reflect on not being able to mourn my grandmother in person and finding purpose in my grief by assisting, caring for, and encouraging others who are grieving.
Grief, while often painful and visceral, is also an authentic and raw expression of love. I urged the congregation to direct their grief into meaningful actions by supporting causes that were significant to their departed loved ones or to their own healing.
Central to the phrase "So you will not grieve like people who have no hope" is the encouragement to avoid suffering aimlessly.
Furthermore, I discussed the Christian belief in eternal life, emphasizing that death is not the end. This conviction provides comfort and the assurance that we will be reunited with our loved ones. The message of hope and the promise of eternal life are pillars of our faith and should be passionately shared within our communities.
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