Generosity in the Face of Grief, Revisited

Generosity in the Face of Grief, Revisited

                 Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

In December of 2012, I wrote about “Generosity Even in the Face of Grief.” It was after the Newtown massacre of 26 people, 20 of them children. I wish it were the last time I needed to write a piece like that. Sadly, every year since then I could have re-published that post. And this year, it feels like I could have been writing about grief every other week. Las Vegas was merely a month ago.
So yet another massacre of innocents. This time it was in a place that many of us consider sacred – a church. A small church in an even smaller community. We have all been in a church like that and so it makes us feel even more vulnerable that it could happen in our sacred space. In my wildest dreams, I never thought that I would send my pastor the article, “How to Protect Yourself During a Mass Shooting.” But yesterday, I did.

My book group just finished up a study on Moses. One of the questions that we grappled with last night was, “What does the Promised Land look like?” And I must say that my vision of a Promised Land seems far more extensive and much more out of reach than it has in a long time.
Yet as people of faith we are not called to suddenly hunker down in our shelters. We are not called to arm ourselves. We are not called to be more fearful. To the contrary, we are called to be that “light on the hill,” “the light that shines in the darkness.”
It’s a tall order.
And it brings me hope.
I love the band U2. Years ago I went to their concert with my son and it was – surprisingly – a profound spiritual experience. The last song Bono and the band sang was “40.” It was based on Psalm 40 – when its author, David, was in a very dark place. The crowd in the sold out arena sang the mournful chorus as a full-throated choir:
I will sing, sing a new song.
I will sing, sing a new song.
How long, to sing this song?
How long, to sing this song?
How long, how long, how long,
How long, to sing this song?
And that too brings me hope.
Being light and being willing to sing that new song even in the midst of grief may be the most generous thing our collective spirits can do right now. We are called to sing that song of hope and be that light no matter how long (how very long) it takes. Even when, and especially if, it seems like darkness is winning.
**There are also practical things we can do to help. First of all, pray. Then work toward sane gun control and better mental health care, call your legislators, and donate blood. Be that light in the darkness.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She’s also groovin’ to U2’s “Yaweh.” She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.

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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.