My mom died in 2007, and though I used to be too ashamed to admit it, I have not “gotten over” her death.
During my mother’s long illness, I started thinking—a lot—about the way that tears in our culture are treated as a source of shame, embarrassment and weakness. What do we usually say whenever we start to cry in front of someone else? “I’m sorry.”
Slowly, over time, I started to break this cultural “law.” I stopped apologizing for tears. I was becoming an outlaw.
To answer the question of how Christians are supposed to grieve, I returned to the Bible.
Jesus cried when Lazarus died even though he knew he would resurrect him (John 11: 33-35).
Jesus’ tears reveal that even though Christians believe in redemption and resurrection, we can and should morn death. This All Saints Sunday do not be ashamed of your tears.
This message is an excerpt from “Meeting God in Grief and Hope” by Jacqueline Bussie in the November 2016 issue of Gather. Today is All Saints Sunday and the 32nd Sunday after Pentecost. The readings are Job 19:23-27a; Haggai 1:15b–2:9 (semicontinuous); Psalm 17:1-9; Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21 (semicontinuous); Psalm 98 (semicontinuous) (alternate); 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17; Luke 20:27-38.