At Work & Theology 101

Grief as a Way Forward

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Praxis, a creative engine for redemptive entrepreneurship, recently put together a thoughtful reflection on the ways leaders should consider this season of disruption.

In their recent reflection, they lay out the notion that all organizations and businesses should look at the pandemic not as a hard winter or even a short blizzard but as a potential months-long Ice Age.

“We’re not going back to normal,” writes the Praxis Team, which consists of Andy Crouch, partner for theology and culture, Kurt Keilhacker, chairman of the board, and Dave Blanchard, co-founder and CEO. “If you’re a leader in an organization, it is time to rewrite your vision deck.”

With this in mind, they seek to guide workers and businesses forward—with reframed expectations—on what the Christian faith might have to offer in light of this unexpected disruption.

Specifically, the team singles out grief as a way forward.

“Christian creativity begins with grief — the grief of a world gone wrong. It enfolds it in lament — the loud cry of Good Friday, the silence of Holy Saturday — and still comes to the tomb early Sunday morning. We are burying and saying goodbye to so much in these days, and around the world people are burying and saying goodbye to those they loved. But we do not grieve without hope. If we grieve with Jesus, and make room for others to grieve, we can hope to be visited by the Comforter, the Spirit who breathed over creation before it was even formed. And that Spirit will guide us in the choices we have to make, even on the hardest days that are ahead.”

During these ambiguous times, the Gospel makes room for your grief. We have all experienced loss in some way shape or form, and the gospel allows us to say with utter conviction that things are not the way they are supposed to be. The idyllic Genesis 1 and 2 shalom in Garden of Eden has been replaced by the death and expulsion of Genesis 3 and 4.

But rather than feeling helpless to the effects of humanity’s rebellion, Christians can take refuge in the strength and promises of the Lord. While we may feel overwhelmed with worry, we serve the covenant-making and covenant-keeping God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In fact, our grief over the ways sin has affected all of life can strengthen our grip on the hope of God’s restoration. When we grieve with hope, it serves as fuel for a redemptive imagination of the world around us.

What could this actually look like? In Denver, one onsite meal delivery business has pivoted from serving in-office meals to serving those on the front lines in delivery and healthcare, many of whom are working extended hours due to the spread and effects of the virus.

“I want to love God and love my neighbors by keeping our employees working, sharing the food resources we already have, and extending these resources into our communities in need through partner organizations,” says Peak Refreshment Strategist Samantha Glenn. “This is a Jeremiah 29 way to seek the flourishing of the city.”

As well, one tech organization has organized a COVID-19 Hackathon to serve the growing tech challenges faced by many in local churches around the world due to social distancing and self-quarantine restrictions.

Others are simply doing their own work with greater gusto and fervor, seeing the ways their own faithfulness in their daily tasks contribute to the flourishing of the common good.

For the Christian has the great joy of co-laboring with God to offer foretastes of God’s coming kingdom into our world now. This means even in the ways we push back against the assault of sin on the world, we embody the peace and shalom of Christ to a world in desperate need.

Editor’s note: This excerpt was republished with permission from the Center for Faith and Work Los Angeles. See the original article in its entirety here.

Learn more about the story that gives meaning and purpose to all people in the booklet, All Things New: Rediscovering the Four-Chapter Gospel.

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