The Christian Hope
There are a lot of myths around about what Christians believe about ‘life after death.’ Sometimes people talk as though the ultimate goal of life is to go to heaven when you die but that’s not what Christian hope is all about. The Christian understanding is actually of a two stage process after death. The first (you might want to call it ‘life after death’) is described in the Bible by words like ‘rest’ and ‘sleep.’ Rest is a powerful idea, especially when life has been a struggle or a battle against illness; it is good to know that we can rest in the presence of the God who loves us and cares for us.
But the really important Christian hope is in the second part of the story (what one might call ‘life after life after death’). This hope is that God will raise us up from rest, we will receive a new body and we will be part of God’s renewal of the world and of the whole of creation. We will be able to be part of God’s great project of bringing all people together in perfect relationship with Him and with one another, enjoying to the full all that He has wonderfully made.
Bereavement produces many emotions: you may feel shock, numbness, denial, yearning, searching, anxiety, anger, guilt, loneliness, depression, apathy, loss of identity. These are all part of grieving. You may experience some of these feelings, or none of them. Everyone grieves in their own way. To love someone is to risk the pain of parting. Not to have loved is never to have lived. The grief which we now experience is the honouring of our love.
St Andrew's have a useful leaflet For Those Who Are Grieving… and also one for those who are recently bereaved.
Here are some useful contacts for those suffering bereavement:
St Andrew’s Church Office
Tel: 01223 232255
The Rev’d James Blandford-Baker [Vicar]
The Rev’d Paul Butler
The Rev’d Janet Glover
The Rev’d John Pelley
St Luke’s Church Centre
Victoria Road, Cambridge CB4 3DZ
Tel: 01223 302662
National Council for One Parent Families
255 Kentish Town Road
London NW5 2LX
Tel: 020 74285400
4 Emmanuel Road, Cambridge CB1 1JW
Tel: 01223 364455
2 Victoria Street, Chatteris PE16 6AP
Tel: 01354 686650 (Info line 696677)