The Requiem Series
This 8-part series explores the contours of grief and Christian hope, and highlights the biblical passages interpreted by Johannes Brahms in his classic chorale work, A German Requiem. For a deeper dive into both the Bible and the music, see Carol Bechtel’s curriculum, Sowing Tears, Reaping Joy: The Bible and Brahms’ Requiem (Kerygma 1996; Sowing Tears, Reaping Joy ).
Lost and Found
Read: John 16:16-22
So you have pain now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice.
When I was about four years old, I got lost in the grocery store. When I looked up and couldn’t find my mom, it was like being lost in the universe.
When I hear the disciples’ nervous questions in John 16, I begin to suspect that they must have had a similar experience. All their fears start flooding back when Jesus talks about “going away.” There is that same rising sense of panic. “What do you mean your’e going to leave us? A little while? What’s that supposed to mean?”
A friend who recently lost her mother remarked that even though she was sure she would see her mother again in heaven, it did not alleviate her sense of loss now. There is no such thing as “a little while” when you are being torn from the one you love.
Perhaps this is why Jesus made so much of the fact that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, would be coming in his absence. “I will not leave you orphaned,” Jesus promises in John 14:18. He is coming back for us. But in the meantime, he is sending us One who will care for us as tenderly as a mother cares for her children.
Prayer: Come, Holy Spirt, come.
Listening option: Brahms’ Requiem, Movement 5