I never cry at funerals. While others around me are creating mounds of used Kleenex, I just get very quiet and reflective. Don’t get me wrong, the sadness of the loss is heartfelt, it just doesn’t generate tears. To be honest, it makes me feel a little self-conscious. “Why aren’t you crying, you heartless Vulcan,” is what I imagine people are thinking. Well, just to disprove that I’m not Spock’s long-lost brother, let me share with you two things that do generate tears for me.
Music – A powerful worship song with penetrating lyrics has been known to moisten the eyes. Music is powerful medium that can fiercely tug at my heartstrings. If you suffer the same malady, let me suggest something more up-tempo during rush hour on I-75. Gridlock + blurry vision = an increase in your insurance premium.
There’s one annual music event that causes my tear duct geysers to erupt like Old Faithful. When the first few bars of “Arise my Love” start playing at Easter, I just start waving the emotional white flag. When the guys get to the bridge and sing “the grave could not hold our King,” well, there’s no holding back the flood gates. See, I’m clearly not an emotionless Vulcan.
The other sure-fire way to start the waterworks is a movie that contains a redemption theme, especially if it’s a father redeeming himself with his family. You may find this odd, but the disaster movie Armageddon is one of my favorites because it has not one, but two father-redemption stories. The first is when Bruce Willis chooses to stay behind to blow up the killer asteroid to save his daughter on earth (sniff). But the one that kills me is Will Patton’s character, Chick. In an earlier scene we see him trying to make contact with his family. He’s obviously messed things up. When his little boy asks who that man is, his mom replies “he’s just a salesman.” Later in the movie when Chick is on his way to the space shuttle as part of humanity’s last hope, the little boy says “Mom, that salesman’s on TV.” She cradles her son in her arms and replies “That man’s not a salesman, that’s your dad.” I swear; I’m tearing up just writing that sentence. I know, I’m a sap, but redemption is a powerful theme. I think it stems from knowing that we were hopeless without the redeeming sacrifice of our Savior.
Pastor Scott continued his “Living with Hope” series with the second beatitude – “blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” I’ve mentioned above what makes me cry, but what should make us cry? What should make us mourn and grieve like the loss of a best friend or family member? As Christ-followers, what causes us to grieve should be what causes God’s heart to grieve. Per Scott, God is grieved by “anything that separates people from God and from each other.”
In Isaiah 59:2 we see that our sin creates a distance between us and God. Christ’s redemptive act bridges that distance and restores our relationship with the Father, but sin can still interrupt our fellowship with Him. Sin also damages relationships with family and friends. That is certainly worthy of grief and shedding tears. I pray that we will all feel that sense of heaviness and grief over our sins and confess them to a loving God. If we do, He’ll “turn our mourning into dancing” as we experience his forgiveness and restoration. Sounds like a no-brainer to me; even Spock couldn’t argue with that logic.