BY REV. CORY KEMP |
My beloved cat, Sienna Grace, passed away earlier this year, leaving a deep sorrow in my heart and a tangible void in my home.
Her gentle presence shaped my days in ways I always appreciated, often meeting me at the door when I came home, meowing a greeting as she entered a room, or jumping up on the couch to snuggle against me as I read a good mystery or a bit of Jane Austen. It’s easy to forget these small, important moments when someone we love is still loved, but not there anymore. Remembering her and learning to live without her became my daily goal.
It’s easy to forget that Jesus’ disciples faced this anguish by themselves.
When Jesus was brought down from the cross and temporarily laid to rest in a borrowed tomb, his followers were already in hiding, in fear for their own lives. Sunday’s triumph was today’s conviction and potential sentencing to a fate equally brutal and horrifying as their teacher’s.
The trauma, especially during the Passover, is beyond comprehension. The Passover marks the Exodus, God’s miraculous, powerful act, bringing the Jewish people out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage that had held them so fiercely for so long. Where was their freedom, their hope, now that Jesus was gone? What did his teaching mean? How could they hold on to all he had given them and, hopefully, keep living their lives?
Most of us have, and all of us will, suffer loss in our lives, the kind that has the potential to make us question what has always been, what we had hoped for that may not be realized, leaving us to deal with what is. Our collective pandemic experience personally disrupted all of our lives, and we are sorting that through as we reach milestones of returning to what we have missed and now cherish so much more.
But it is important to remember that without loss, without the sorrow and grieving, we do not experience resurrection and new life in our own lives. We know that Jesus died, and we believe he rose from the dead. But we are called to more that these: we are called to follow the Christ who lives on and leads us to serve without letting the fear that pushed the disciples into hiding push us there too. As Paul wrote from his prison cell, addressing the church he had founded at Corinth, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” God’s love for us shown in the short, beautifully-lived life of Jesus of Nazareth, is remembered best, lived best, in this love that continues through us and never ends.
For myself, when people tentatively asked me if I would ever have a new cat in my life, I assured them I would because I love cats. Losing a cat doesn’t take away the love, but it does take time to grieve and heal. Having been blessed with so much loving support after Sienna Grace died, healing became possible and took root in my soul. A few weeks ago, I welcomed Charlotte Adelaide and George Franklin home, two lovely cats who are happy to share their lives with me. God always sends me the best cats to love.
Charlotte Adelaide and George Franklin
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom, and joy.
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