I just listened to a very moving sermon on the church of the resurrection website…not by Adam Hamilton but by a woman named Penny Ellwood. I looked for the GPS (Grow, Pray and Study guide)…but there wasn't one for this sermon series. I loved what she had to say about how to “live in the mess.”
She talked about different life events, some hypothetical, some from her own life and some from the lives of people she knows. Her most moving story was the story of a young seminary student she worked with at one of the satellite campuses. While he was dating the woman he is now married to, her mother died. He went to the funeral out of state where he met her family for the first time.
Her dad became distraught at the gravesite….so distraught he actually jumped into the open grave; on his knees, crying hysterically. Nobody knew what to do. The grave was deep and nobody could physically reach him. The young man....Joe....didn't know what to do either but he did the only thing he could think of; he jumped down into the muddy grave, in his new suit and simply embraced her father, wept with him and provided a shoulder to cry on. Like Job’s friends (before they became miserable comforters) Joe sat in the ashes with his girlfriend's father.
When the grieving man finally calmed down, they were so deep in the muddy grave Joe wondered how they would ever get out….and then he looked up and saw many hands reaching down to help pull them out. The analogy is touching, poignant and inspiring.
It seems like an interesting series because we all….ALL….end up in the pit of despair at times in our lives. Although throughout the Bible we are assured that God is with us always…even in the “pits,” we are comforted when another human meets us in our pain, sits with us in our ashes and extends a hand up when we are ready to climb out.