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Bible Excerpt from Genesis 37:29-36

All his sons and all his daughters sought to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.

Reflection by Quinn G. Caldwell

Jacob has been tricked into believing that his son Joseph is dead. His grief is huge. He cannot be comforted; he wishes he himself were dead.

Any who have lost a child will relate. They say that there is no worse pain in the world. There is something so terribly wrong, so out of order about a child dying before a parent. The pain doesn’t fade with time, they say, and you never get over it. You simply hope to find a way to learn to live with it.

God also knows what it’s like. “For God so loved the world that God gave God’s only-begotten son . . . . ” God lost a child, too.

It is a strange thing, but it may be that the ones who know best the depth of God’s love for us, the only ones who really know what God sacrificed in Jesus’ death, are those who have lost children of their own. For they are the only ones who know the depth of the pain that God experienced in order to bring us home.


Great God of all mystery, before we felt the pain, you suffered it; before the burden came upon us, your strength lifted it; before sorrow darkened our hearts, you were grieved. As you walk in the valley of every shadow, be our good shepherd and sustain us while we walk with you, lest in weakness we falter.*  Amen.

* Book of Worship, United Church of Christ, p. 364. New York: United Church of Christ Office for Church Life and Leadership, 1986.


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