Friday, April 23, 2010

The ministry of Presence

Grief comes to each of us at some time in our lives. There’s an inherent unfairness in grief... unfair in who and how it’s dispersed out. You can always find someone who’s circumstances trump your own: someone with more miscarriages, someone with more death in their family, someone who’s circumstances seem greater to bear, but that certainly doesn’t provide comfort and perhaps even brings guilt.

It’s hard to be present with someone grieving. Who really just wants to weep with someone? Isn’t easier to give advice about why this happened, quote Bible verses, offer spiritual idioms, try to provide a cheerful spin, or share personal experiences?

And yet the grieving need comfort and assurance. So how do I provide that as one grieving ministering to many others grieving? In Kate Brasestrup’s book “Here if you need me,” she writes about the ministry of presence. The ministry of “just showing-up.” While it sounds easy, I think for most of us it turns out to be a hard discipline. We read of Jesus doing this when he learns of the death of his friend, “Jesus wept.” We don’t read of Christ saying, “All things work together for the good of those who love Him" or “You’ll see him in heaven” or “I’ve arrived; don’t worry. ” And the miracle of the resurrection only comes after Christ presently ministered with tears to the family grieving. Being present, being willing to stay in the grief until it has passed is not wallowing, weak, or wasteful, it is healing.

No comments: