This Lent, we are entering the practice of communal lament. If you missed Fr. Kevin’s sermon from Ash Wednesday, “The Power of Lament,” he listed 5 elements you’ll usually find in laments. You may find these helpful as you express your own pain to God.
Reminding God how he acted in the past (example: Psalm 44:1-2)
Describing how bad the suffering is (example: Psalm 44:9-10)
Asking hard questions of God– like “How long?” and “Why don’t you act?” (examples: Psalm 44:24; Psalm 13:1-2)
Dealing with our sin—if that’s involved. Some psalms, like 78, clearly confess the people’s sins, but others say, “Yes, we did sin, but now we’ve been punished enough” (like Psalm 79). Some even say, “We’re innocent. This suffering is not something we deserve” (Psalm 44:17-22)
Pleading for God to help (Psalm 44:23-26)
Savior’s Coordinator of Youth Ministries, Ellen Vosburg, has suggested some activities and resources for helping children process grief. With the death of Marilyn Stewart and the grief our church family is feeling, we hope these resources can be helpful as we talk with the children of Savior.
Spend some time over the next weeks and months sharing memories and stories that you and your children have about Marilyn. Share with one another the ways Marilyn influenced your lives and was a friend or spiritual mother or grandmother. Talk about how important she was to who we are today, both as individual families and as a church family.
Read Scripture about death and the resurrection together. Good passages to read and reflect on together are Isaiah 25:6-9, John 11:1-44, 1 Corinthians 15:1-58, and Revelation 21:1-7. Observe together what God thinks about death. Be open with one another about the way death makes us feel. Notice how God promises life eternal for his disciples and remember how we will all be with God together in our resurrected bodies. Imagine together what our resurrected bodies might be like.
“Talking with My Kids about Death” (Christianity Today): In this article, the author recounts how her children responded to the death of their uncle. She gives good advice about how to lean into children’s questions, wonderings, and imaginings about death.
“Good Grief” (Fuller Youth Institute): This article discusses how to help students grieve any loss well. The article is aimed at youth workers, but the principles would be helpful for parents, too. It discusses some tendencies we have when people are grieving that are best to avoid, and then recounts some principles of memory sharing and hopefulness that help students grieve well.
“The Dos and Don’ts of Talking with a Child about Death” (Psychology Today): This article provides some helpful dos and don’ts about how your child or teen might react to death and provides suggestions for how to come alongside them in your own grief.
Savior member Alice Teisan also suggests the resources found at GriefShare.
On December 1, Savior hosted its annual Advent retreat — on of three such retreats Savior holds each year. This retreat focused on the theme of Watching for Christ’s Advent through two movements: the movement of longing and the the movement of joy.
To access Pastor Sandy Richter’s materials that guide us through these two movements, click here.
As we learn about the Apostles Creed in Father Kevin’s upcoming sermons (Nov. 10, Nov. 17 and Nov. 24), here are additional resources for further study of the Creed and Christian Doctrine:
SHORTEST & SIMPLEST:
A pamphlet, Creeds and Heresies, explains how Christian belief (as expressed in the Apostles’ Creed) differs from its main early competitor, gnosticism
FOR HIGH SCHOOL YOUTH AND OLDER:
How to Understand the Creed by Jean-Noel Bezancon, et al., illumines each phrase of the Nicene Creed with sidebars and images
“I Believe”: Exploring the Apostles’ Creed by Alister McGrath. Perfect for a 6-week study group. Each week includes key Bible passages informing the Creed
FOR THE THEOLOGICALLY MINDED:
To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism, the official catechism of Anglican Church in North America, explains each phrase of the Apostles’ Creed in question-and-answer format
Dogmatics in Outline, by Karl Barth. The 20th-century Swiss Reformed theologian expounds on Christian doctrines.
FOR THE HISTORICALLY MINDED:
The Nicene Creed for Today by Br. Gregory Simpson tells the story of the how the creed came to be in under 100 pages
”The Road to Nicaea” by John Anthony McGuckin gives the same story about the formation of the Nicene Creed in article length (and free)
(Photo: the oldest known copy of the Nicene Creed, created during the 6th century; currently held at the University of Manchester Library in England)