Saturday, August 19, 2017

Growth Through Grief

 Grief affects our values and our viewpoints.

In conducting funerals, I’m conscious of escorting grieving people along the edge of eternity, so I encourage families to recognise their grief, to value those they have lost, and to explore how God’s grace opens doors for healing.

Surprise reunions can still crop up, as I found at a recent funeral.

While making the arrangements, I discovered that the deceased lady’s family included a long-lost workmate. Another surprise was sown as they debated mentioning a “black sheep” uncle who had shamed the family and disappeared years before, but they eventually decided to include him in the funeral notice.

On the day of the funeral, while meeting people who had arrived early, one of them surprised me by telling me she had trained for nursing with my elder sister. Then her friend recalled my ministry from years ago in our state’s western district.

The service was underway when two young women came in, quietly taking their seats near the door.

Later, as everyone gathered outside the chapel, they expressed their sympathy and then introduced themselves as cousins – daughters of that “black sheep” uncle! Having seen the funeral notice, they felt they should risk meeting their wider family for the first time.

I was privileged to see how God suddenly expanded this family beyond what they’d known, as they embraced each other – building bridges of laughter and acceptance across years of silence. It was a time for healing, and a whole new future.

 

Noel Mitaxa

On behalf of a church near you,

Inviting you to explore God’s grace

 

Noel Mitaxa is from South Eastern Australia and has been in ministry since 1973, firstly with Churches of Christ – similar to the Disciples in the USA – until 1990, when he moved to a faith-based inter-based inter-church sports ministry of sports evangelism, sports chaplaincy and sports media, before returning to pastoral ministry with Baptist Churches in 1996.

Throughout his ministries, he has always aimed at building the kinds of churches that express God’s love practically, as much as verbally.  Most recently, this included a community centre for woodworking, a community garden and counseling and education programs.

He also enjoys the methanol fix of speedway chaplaincy, in which he has served nine seasons as the Head Rev of all those rev heads!

He and his wife Judy have been married for 35 years; their four kids have grown up and they have three grandchildren.

His writing began in 1982, with his first weekly Good News column, which has always focused on helping unchurched people to realize that God loves them and that He is already there for them.  The column has also been a tool for feeding and starting ‘water cooler’ conversations among Christians and non-Christians.  He also writes for Cypress Times in Houston TX.

 

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