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    Good Morning Family Of God

    Letter 37 October 19, 2020 by Major Brenda & David Allen
    Photo by Ben White on Upslash
    Photo by Ben White on Upslash

    Sorrow is a word, which for many, frames these days.  It is a word that has been captured in newspaper headlines, and spoken from the lips of doctors, pastors, and healthcare workers. The word sorrow struck my heart last night when I heard of the loss of a mother due to Covid19. 

    More than a word used during this pandemic season, sorrow is a familiar companion on the journey of life.  It walks with each one of us at different points of time. Sorrow is the experience of being afflicted with deep pain of mind, or spirit. Sorrow can be the result of difficult life experiences, but it can also exist due to the regret of a decision made, or an act committed.

    I read the words of Paul that say he was, ‘sorrowful, yet always rejoicing’ (2 Corinthians 6:10).  Is this truly possible?  How can the two experiences, from opposite spectrums, be known at the same time.  Mother Angelica, known best in the Catholic Christian Community, for her television personality, said, “The Christian experiences and lives a paradox. He/she possesses joy in sorrow, fulfillment in exile, light in darkness, peace in turmoil, consolation in dryness, contentment in pain and hope in desolation.”

    I like Mother Angelica’s use of the word ‘possess’ which means ‘to own.’  Tears accompany sorrow and yet joy is the ‘possession’ of the one who believes in Jesus.  It was Jesus who cried, in the garden, with such deep anguish, that blood drops formed.  He knew the journey of death by crucifixion ahead of him.  In this journey of suffering, Isaiah proclaimed Jesus to be, “a man of sorrows” affirming “he was acquainted with grief” and ‘carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3,4).  Paul said, “that for the joy set before him, Jesus endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).

    To know the possession of rejoicing is to know that we are the possession of Christ Jesus.  He endured the cross that we might know his joy. This rejoicing comes to us through believing in him.  He is the source of rejoicing today and into eternity where there will be ‘no more sorrow or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).  His resurrection, new life, enables us not only to live ‘sorrowful yet rejoicing’ but also enables the leaving of the sorrow of regret behind through his forgiveness. 

    It is not easy to articulate the experience of rejoicing in sorrow. It is best heard from the mouth of those who have walked with the One who is the giver of rejoicing.  The exclamation point included in the title of this hymn tells me that the author knew the great wonder and gift of the “Man of Sorrows!” 

    183: Man Of Sorrows! What A Name

    1. Man of sorrows! What a name

    For the Son of God, who came

    Ruined sinners to reclaim;

    Hallelujah! What a Savior!

    2. Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

    In my place condemned He stood,

    Sealed my pardon with His blood;

    Hallelujah! What a Savior!

    3. Guilty, vile and helpless we,

    Spotless Lamb of God was He;

    Full atonement—can it be?

    Hallelujah! What a Savior!

    4. Lifted up was He to die;

    “It is finished!” was His cry;

    Now in Heaven, exalted high;

    Hallelujah! What a Savior!

    5. When He comes, our glorious king,

    All His ransomed Home to bring,

    Then anew this song we'll sing:

    “Hallelujah! What a Savior!”

    God in Heaven, not only did you give us the ability to rejoice in sorrow, you have also told us that we are to “rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”  God of all compassion, familiar with all suffering, make us instruments of your joy to someone who walks in sorrow today.  And, gracious, healing Saviour, where sorrow is carried because of regret, bring healing and wholeness through your resurrection life today. We ask this through Jesus who endured the cross granting us new life. AMEN

    With care and in prayer,

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