We have very recently lost a couple of people with close associations with Warmingham: Christine Nagington who was brought up in Warmingham and served the community and St Leonards as a young woman before marrying and moving away, and Margaret Roden who is so well known and has done so much for St Leonards and the community that she needs no introduction. You could say, perhaps, that these losses take the shine off Easter, but equally you could think that Easter Resurrection is all the more significant when loved ones die.
But even with that positive gloss, grief is still pervasive, and we extend our sympathy to all who grieve the loss of these two people, and of course those who grieve other losses. Everyone grieves differently but the common factor is the pain. Grief can be accompanied by other unpleasant and perhaps unfamiliar emotions like feelings of helplessness, fear and isolation.
Grief is the consequence of the love we have for the person we have lost, and it reminds us of how important love is in our lives generally.
Let’s think about love. It’s more than simply an emotion, more than an instinct or a matter of hormones. Could it really be true that love can be reduced to the amount of pheromones, serotonin, dopamine in your body? Could it really be true that love is just a survival tool that humans have evolved that supports long-term relationships, makes for sound parenting, and gives us security???
It is an intimation of something beyond ourselves. To me it is a window on the God of love. If we can sense the existence and the presence of the God of love, then we have to ask ourselves this question: If there is a God who loves us, would he destroy the person he has lovingly made? Wouldn’t a loving God have a plan – a rescue plan – for each person?
So grief can be a pointer to something wonderful – that shot through this universe is a higher principle: the principle of love. And it is that principle which gives us the God of Love who so lovingly created each person and holds them secure for all time.
St Paul had a sense of this in his letter to the Romans:
I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.