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.” 1 Thess. 4:13


Heavenly Father, the grief was unrestrainable, the tenderness palpable, your presence undeniable. I went to bed last night close to numb from emotional exhaustion. I rise today grateful for the holy privilege of entering grief and risking hope.

Yesterday, our church family was trusted with extending your tender mercies and safe harbor for grieving families, staff, and board members of Covenant School, and to pastors, elders, and deacons of Covenant Presbyterian Church. It was a long day, navigated along a grace-path that led us right into Jesus’ open-ended welcome. “Come to me all of you who are weary and heavily burdened. I will give you rest.”

Some friends I’ve known for 40 years weeping uncontrollably—some of the strongest women and men I know rendered beautifully weak. Shocked parents falling into each other’s arms—needing to say nothing, not wanting to let go, so glad just to be together. Father, thank you for the unsought-gift, shared-calling, and difficult heart-work of grief. We grieve clumsily—often reluctantly, sometimes years after the trauma, loss, heart-rip.

Father, teach us how to grieve, and how to enter each other’s grief. You will never walk us into hopeless-grief. Usually, hope holds us before we can risk it. And, hallelujah, the hope you give doesn’t replace our grief, it transforms it. Hope-kissed-grief makes us gentle, kind, and loving.

But how trustworthy is our hope? Can it sustain the weight of our anguish, the anger in our hearts, and the fear that we feel? We’ll answer in this way, Father. We have never been more ready to celebrate Easter. Our hope is profoundly sure because Jesus’ tomb is completely empty. Hallelujah, and So Very Amen.