Unhappily, much to my regret, this week’s blog is focused on losing! How difficult it is to accept loss, from the seeming triviality of World Cup football to the searing pain of personal relationships. Loss matters, it is part of our life-pattern; we cannot escape it, it is always present. Yes, there were tears at the end of the semi-final game against Croatia, not least because this was the best opportunity England have had to win the World Cup since you know when.
Loss hurts. It is such an integral feeling to being human that it matters how we cope with it. Some people clearly cannot cope with loss in a healthy way. Loss can bring on such a disturbance in our emotional wellbeing that it can lead to strategies which we use to cut off from our feelings. Addictive behaviour, for example, is the manifestation of coping badly, how loss gets the better of our instinct for self-preservation.
The Christian narrative presents a healthier human response to loss. People of faith understand that God lives with loss from day to day. The God who invests everything into creation is blessed and broken by this covenantal relationship with the world. God does not and will not break his promise to love and care for his creation, no matter what. God has learned to live with the pain of loss. The sacred act of loving, we begin to discern, also involves the awful risk of losing people, places, events, things.
We cannot control our lives, those who attempt this ultimately experience failure. We can, however, formulate a response to loss which is life-giving. We can offer is lives of sacrifice to the source of healing which is God. In our faith, and the practical living out of our risky lives, we can be re-assured of God’s eternal presence, his knowledge of our fragility. We must learn the lesson of loss in order to live more fully but, of course, this is them most difficult of all experiences. Our faith can lead to healing and growth. This is the resurrection faith of the disciples of Christ, living, dying and rising again. For those who are undergoing a particular loss at this time, may God bless you in your pain and bring you to a place of promise.
Learn more about God’s care for all people this Sunday at St Michael & All Angels, Summertown, 8am and 10am.
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