Sooner or later everyone mourns. People we love pass from this life, and they are sorely missed. Even if they have been sick for such a long time that death comes as no surprise, the news hits like ton of bricks. If they have passed suddenly the shock is far greater. Either way there is an initial period of deepest grief. Tears come unexpectedly; we think of something we’d like to share and realize we cannot.

Comfort comes sooner if we have no regrets; there is no unfinished business, no unresolved conflict. They knew we loved them, we know they loved us. Grief is complicated when there are regrets, but God’s grace and God’s love can bring healing no matter what.

We also mourn our errors and mistakes. Words that cannot be taken back, deeds that wounded deeply. Sometimes you cannot unring a bell. Those who suffer this form of mourning will be comforted by working and witnessing to make a difference in this world. God cheers our

We mourn the sorrows of the world. There is sorrow a-plenty: racism, violence, sickness, abuse and neglect, poverty and hunger, the earth is being polluted. There are many reasons to grieve. When we feel this pain we will be comforted as we work and witness and try to make a difference in this world. God cheers our efforts; we are cooperating with God’s will.

And what if we were never close enough to anyone to feel sad at their passing? That would be the saddest thing of all.

And what if we had a heart of stone, and were unable to be moved by much of anything? What a cold and empty life that would be.

In I Thessalonians 4.13 Paul assures us that we do have hope and does not want people to “mourn as others do who have no hope.” We still mourn. The pain is real because we are alive; our hearts are open; we love and care for others. But we have every hope through Jesus Christ our Lord.