February 22, 2011

Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice, Mourn With Those Who Mourn

Now this should come as no surprise to any of you but I am not a mother. However a friend of my wife's and mine writes a blog about being a mother that I drop in on every now and than. Sometimes the topics go well over my head, others don't connect with me at all; being a father and not a mother that is to be expected. But the other day she posted about a personal loss that she is suffering through, her loss of an unborn child.

Now I don't pretend to know how she feels as she deals with this loss. I don't and can't know the hurt, the pain, the grief or the confusion. But I do have some idea of what it is like to have pain and to not know where to go to share it. To not know if you can share it. And worse still to have pain and to be made to feel like sharing it is in someway bad.

Likewise I know what it feels like to feel joy, and not know where to share it, who it share it with, and to be made to feel that sharing it is in someway bad. These are the issues that our friend so expertly explored in the context of motherhood the other day.

These are issues that as Christians we ought to explore every day.

One of the common criticisms Christian's endure is that we are unable to be 'real' or genuine. That we would rather done a fake smile than to deal with either real joys or real sorrows. It is a criticism that stings, yet it is one that is often right.

The Church Smile, Not To Big Yet Not To Small, It Is Just Right To Hide Whatever You Are Actually Feeling

Now it shouldn't be right. After all we are called to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. We just tend not to do either very well, or very consistently.

I wonder if our problem is that somewhere along the lines the concept of Christian fellowship, and the concept of small talk and activity got crossed. Now I don't know about you but a lot of the time when I hear people tossing around the word fellowship they really mean socializing. We call our after church coffee and tea a time for fellowship, but it really is a time for small talk; it's a little get to know you period.

Other times when we say fellowship we mean some large activity, a big church dinner or an outing of some kind. These really tend to be times to create memories, and perhaps to help people bond.

Now don't get me wrong I think both of these things are good things. It is great that churches provide an entry level non-threatening place for people to meet. And it is great that churches provide opportunities for people to grow closer together and bond. They are great, they are wonderful, they are needed, but they are not Christian fellowship. Instead they are the forerunners to fellowship. They are the vehicles that help to make real fellowship happen. They are the mechanism, not the desired outcome.

The problem is many of us confuse the means with the ends. We forget that the end is to have people rejoice with those who are rejoicing and mourn with those who are mourning. We forget that we are called to be a loving and caring community not just a polite and busy community.

So let's rejoice together and let's mourn together. Let's talk about more than the weather. And like many a mother has said, let's wipe that stupid grin off our faces.


  1. Great blog today, and it's a great reminder for all of us. To be genuine and to rejoice and sorrow with others. It's so hard to do! It gets us out of our comfort zone and makes us feel things we might not want to feel.

  2. So true. I know I find it very hard to do both. My comfort zone is just so nice and cozy.