OT: Psalm 27
NT: Luke 13.31-35
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was a Swiss psychiatrist who worked with terminally ill patients. She became one of the world’s leading experts on death and developed what we now call the “Five Stages of Grief.” They apply to grief of all sorts—grief over death, pain, hurt, regret. These are the five stages.
Denial. This isn’t really happening. I’ll pinch myself, wake up, and realize this has all been a terrible dream.
Anger. Frustration boils over. We lash out, we kick and scream and fight.
Bargaining. As if we are lawyers in a negotiation, we try and bargain with God. If this will all just go away, then we promise to be better people and live a better life.
Depression. We give up. We say, “What’s the point?”
Acceptance. We somehow finally realize that despite how messed up things are, it will be alright.
When you grieve, you don’t go through these stages in some simple, sequential order. You’re not in denial for a day, angry for a day, and so on. You bounce back and forth between these stages for months if not years.
Jesus was human too. He grieved like we do. By today’s reading, I think he had completed his stages of grief by arriving at acceptance. He didn’t like Herod, he wasn’t satisfied with his disciples commitment, and he had to be beyond anxious about what surely awaited him in Jerusalem…but he accepted it. He accepted all of it.
Do you ever feel like Herod is out to get you? Do you ever wonder if even those closest to you understand you? Do you ever get tired of the rat race of conflict?
Jesus teaches us that peace is not the absence of conflict but the acceptance of it. He found peace by accepting his situation, and we can too. Amen.