Thursday, June 25, 2009

6/25- Grieving Celebrities

(Job Grieving-uncomforted by his three friends)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.


13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. (I Thessalonians 4:13)

Calvin (Letter to a friend upon the death of his sister): because I was not certain whether they had as yet informed you of the death of Madame your sister, I did not venture to mention it. Now I have rejoiced, and have thanked God with my whole heart, perceiving by the letter of Madame that you had at once taken your stand upon the point whereon I would have founded my principal argument, if I had wished to console you. And, indeed, you have such occasion for gratitude on account of the grace which God has vouchsafed to her, and to you also. For seeing that her husband had waxed so cold, the good lady would have been in an unhappy captivity had she remained longer in the world, and would only have languished her life away. On your part, you would not have had it in your power to lend her a helping hand, nor to solace her sorrows; and so you never could have thought of her without regret and vexation. God, therefore, has had pity upon you and her, in thus providing, and above all, in preventing the dangers into which she might have fallen in a long career, by reason of the frailty which is in us. And we have yet a better ground of further consolation, that it will not be long ere we find ourselves together again. Meanwhile, let us think of preparing ourselves to follow her, for the time will soon come. But I like much better to congratulate you, seeing that our Lord has already put these things in your heart, than to labor in Recalling them to your memory. The other news which Camus has told me about you, has also cheered me to await the time when God will bring to pass what he has put into so good a train. Monseigneur, after humble commendations to your kind favor, and having presented the humble remembrances of my wife, I pray our good Lord to have you ever in his safeguard, to strengthen you in body and in spirit, so as always to make you more abound in his service. (Letter to Falais 1546)

1546 was the year Martin Luther died. There is no indication that Calvin mentioned it in his letters or sermons. However, that same year he wrote to his friend Falais whose sister died, and to his friend Viret whose wife died. He was concerned about their welfare and grief more than the death of the mighty Luther whom he called at one point “an apostle” of the Reformation. In our instant news society, we grieve over the loss of Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. I have not met either one. I have met Mark Sanford several times, have written him, and am saddened for him and his family. But our society is consumed with celebrity worship. Talented singers die. Even though their songs and influence live on, a more important question is did they help the world glorify God more or less? Farah Fawcett was beautiful, but beauty fades. The power of governors, even presidents can erode in a heartbeat with the fickleness of our morality. Don’t get me wrong, we should pray for the Jackson and Fawcett and Sanford family. But such falls and deaths affect us really less than the neighbor down the street who dies. We do not need to grieve like the heathens. They may think it is that much worse that a great singer and dancer is no longer singing or dancing. Or that a beautiful girl is now entombed with death. But Christians are well aware of the temporary and fickle even sinful nature of life. Beauty eventually fades, and songs eventually (today quickly) lose their popularity.

Prayer: Help us, Holy Spirit to grieve with hope, and to have our eyes fixed on what will last.

No comments:

Post a Comment