Embrace the grieving or heal the grief?

Today I saw a notice for a Blue Christmas Worship Service at the Lake Palestine UMC in Chandler, TX. Similar services are being offered in a variety of Churches during this Advent season. They are offered as a way for congregations to comfort and embrace members who have experienced loss and are grieving in this time of joy and celebration

But it was another Blue Christmas Service notice that really caught my eye. It is to be held at the very Plymouth Congregational Church I remember for its fantastic brass ensemble that made every Allelulia pop during the Easter Service I attended many years ago. On the way to that service, I probably drove past another Church that at that time was located just 4 short blocks away. But it wasn't until some years later that I drove to that other Church for a Wednesday Testimony meeting. The First Church of Christ,Scientist in Des Moines, IA was part of my earliest introduction to Christian Science.

It was there that I began realize that while two neighboring Churches may have equally imposing structures in beautiful settings, their views of grief might not be the same. The Blue Christmas service idea, familiar from my childhood, affirms the necessity of grief as a natural emotional and rational response to loss. Grief, a raw emotion, is believed to require much binding up, deeply felt pain and sense of abandonment, personal will to continue and ample time for mourning before one no longer feels its rawness.

A very different view is held by members of the Church of Christ, Scientist, founded by Mary Baker EddyThey view grief in a totally different light, one that not only expects but almost demands that grief be healed and healed now -- like the issue of blood, withered hand and other diverse diseases healed by Christ Jesus. They know that years, months or days of sacrifice to an idol called grief is unjust and not a law of God! They know God is Love and could never make such a cruel law.

Yes, the Christian Science view may appear startling at first with its uncompromising rejection of pain and sorrow related to loss. Yes, it says "NO" to unlawful idol demands. Yes, it says with authority, "Get thee behind me, Satan!" Yes, it says, "Awake! There is no death. There is no loss."

Who drew this line of demarcation for mankind to see? Christ Jesus drew that line with a sword and his Apostles and disciples wrote Testaments and letters about his authority.

Who traced that same line centuries later? Mary Baker Eddy traced it with a pen, "the pen of an angel". She wrote Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesthe singular textbook for today's students of the teachings and healing method of Christ Jesus. 

Students of Christian Science demonstrate the 1st Commandment by taking an un-selfed, radical stand for the one and only, omnipotent God. Christian Scientists understand that God, good, is the only power, creator and preserver. They understand that He created nothing that could challenge His absolute power. Therefore, loss or a lack of good is an impossibility. This Truth, when known, sets captives free from grief, ready to return to the business of proving that our Father-Mother God is infinite good. Truth calls every heart to join with the Shunammite woman and sing: "It is well."

As if to confirm Truth's call, the Texas UMC Church program shows that Psalm 27:1-5 will be read and an "It is well" hymn will be sung. Here are two version of the selected grief-rejecting hymn:


MAHALIA JACKSON (pure gospel audio version)

AMY GRANT (Amy tell the hymn's back story)


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