together We Grieve
I had employed all of my well-learned, ministerial detachment along with a determination not to get emotional, but I still lost it during “Amazing Grace.” The funeral soloist, obviously a good friend of the deceased, struggled through the first verse, eventually, chocking up to complete silence. It was at that point that many in the congregation began to sing along – “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” By the time we reached the final verse, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years . . .” the overflow crowd was singing in unison, many standing, some with hands raised. I was singing, but with a choaked up voice, knowing that in approximately five minutes, I was to speak words of remembrance over my long-time friend. If there is ever a time, when we all need to sing together, it is at a time when human grief is mixed with spiritual celebration. After all, while we believers grieve, we do not “grieve like people who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13, NLT). Wanna Dean Lloyd, you would have been so proud.
Dr. Dan R. Crawford, Senior Professor, Chair of Prayer Emeritus; Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. Former Head of Task Force for the Teaching of Prayer in Theological Education for America’s National Prayer Committee. Administrative Consultant for the Valley Baptist Missions Education Center.