Deep emotions are part of the human experience that Christians embrace. This past Friday I experienced the wondrous joy of celebrating the marriage of my son. I rejoiced with family and friends as God’s blessing was placed upon Jon and Maggie. Yet as I came back to Resurrection Lutheran I learned that many are grieving the death of a high school senior, Braedon Hyland, who was killed in an automobile accident last week. Though not a member of our congregation, he was known and loved by many in our community. As a community we weep with the Hyland family.
St. Paul wrote, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). Christians do not ignore or reject such deep emotions as joy or sorrow. Jesus himself wept at the tomb of his friend Lazarus. The psalmist cries out with both celebratory praise and with deep anguish. The ups and downs of life are not eradicated by faith in God, but transformed into opportunities for trust and hope. God is to be found in both the wedding and funeral, in both the birth of a child and the death of a grandpa. All of life belongs to God and He gives us strength for the journey.
But there is more than simply the comfort of God’s presence. There is also the hope of God’s promise. The psalmist writes, “Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:6). As Christians we trust in a God who suffered death for us on Good Friday, but rose up from the tomb on Easter Sunday. Sometimes we weep the bitter tears of Friday, but sometimes we taste the sweet joy of Sunday with the dance of Christ’s resurrection. Often we live in between on Saturday, remembering the sorrow, yet anticipating the joy.
Plus being God’s children, we do not experience these emotions alone, but share them in community. That is why Paul encourages us to rejoice with others and weep with others. No one need walk life’s journey alone, but rather join in God’s cosmic dance with other, anticipating the great dance of heaven itself.
You have turned my mourning into dancing, you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy (Psalm 30:11).
Lord Jesus, guide me in my weeping and rejoicing with others in need.