My friend is a D Min student. He was presenting his project to us, looking at what he calls “complicated grief”: The grief and losses men experience in prison. One of his thoughts was that the church has not done well working with the idea of loss. He said, “We need to develop a theology of loss to answer the question: Why did God design a world filled with loss?”
I could refer him to theodicies (theologies of suffering), which move in the direction he notes. But he is right. This area is one of the hardest for us to make sense of. Why does loss appear to be designed into our world? For those of us who believe in God, why has loss been planted in our world, and we are forced to eat the fruit that grows on it if we want to live?
Today is Holy Saturday—the day between Dark Friday and Resurrection Sunday. We play those wonderful YouTube clips of Tony Campolo preaching: “It’s Friday! But Sunday’s coming!” And we’re ready to shout with his audience, “Sunday’s coming!” But today we wait in between. Today we feel the loss. Why did God design our world to be filled with loss?
Of course, in this respect the prisoners are simply human. We all experience loss. In Denial of the Soul Scott Peck describes the ending of life as a series of losses, until we are confined to bed unable to care for ourselves. Entirely dependent on others for everything; at the end of the road paved with loss. Why?
No answers today. This is Holy Saturday. Today we wait. Maybe someday we’ll know better, but for the moment we know that loss is real. Loss hurts. How we live with loss can destroy or make us. But for now it’s not even Friday; it’s Saturday, and we wait.