In one week, our CCEF family experienced the birth of Anne Pettit’s second son on a Thursday, David Powlison’s death on a Friday, and Megan Krimmel’s wedding that Sunday. Our concern was that while we knew it was time to mourn, and we could do that effortlessly, would we also know it was time to rejoice and to dance?
Ecclesiastes lists times that seem to oppose one another: birth and death, silence and speaking out, waging war and seeking peace, and mourning and dancing. Each time has its season. But when Ecclesiastes draws in the ministry of Jesus the seasons overlap in that we participate in the life, the suffering, and the comfort of Jesus Christ. We can experience the weight of grief at the same time we experience the buoyancy of hope. One person can know both the sentence of death and the fullness of life.
The Lord can and does mix these experiences in himself during this era between his resurrection and his coming again. He mourns with those who mourn, rejoices with those who rejoice, warns those who wander from him, and brings judgment on evil. He enters into the life of each of his lambs, fully engaged and affected. We, however, are mere humans. There are times when we can and do emotionally multi-task, but we usually have one emotion take precedent over others. So, for us, there is a time to mourn and a time to dance.
On Sunday we danced with Megan—some of us literally, some metaphorically. We did this by faith, in dependence on the Spirit, because of our love for her, and out of a calling to discern that this was, indeed, a time to dance. The next day, Megan’s calling was to continue her time of dancing, while many of us allowed grief to come to the fore and asked dancing to play second chair.
A funeral and a wedding—two very different events accompanied by very different emotions. Yet there is a place where they became one—in and through our worship. David’s memorial service had, as its center, a time to worship God together. We sang songs that David had previously chosen for us to sing, and they were glorious. We sang How Deep the Father’s Love for Us; O the Deep, Deep, Love for Jesus; I Will Arise and Go to Jesus; and ended with Fairest Lord Jesus. Meanwhile, at a wedding, how could you not have a time of worship? Megan chose Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art. We were one group, two occasions, but a unified chorus that sang of “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6).
On our first day back at CCEF, we had our regular prayer time from 9:00-9:30. It began with reflections about David and reflections of strength in weakness. Megan had returned from her honeymoon, which was an important time of rest and enjoyment. Myriam led us in a song of worship. We prayed. Then it was a time to work. In the days ahead we will continue to seek grace to work well, yet we know that sorrows and joys will surface throughout each day. Sometimes they will take turns, each in their own time. Other days our lives will be a composite of work, grief, and joy, all at once. And our desire is to bring all these pieces together through daily worship.
¹Inspired by a conversation with Megan Krimmel