Joyful Defiance: Death Does Not Win the Day
Sitting in the pew at her husband's funeral, author Anna Madsen heard the last verse of the great Reformation hymn: "Were they to take our house, goods, honor, child, or spouse, though life be wrenched away, they cannot win the day. The kingdom's ours forever!" Reflecting on this experience, Madsen realized that death takes victories when its power appears to be greater than life. And she defiantly refused to cede death any more wins: "Not my spirit, not my strength, not my joy, and certainly not those of my children."
The challenge is to acknowledge death in its manifold forms and own one's indignation and grief, and yet transcend it so that even if we are angry, we do not become anger. This book names the tension between grief and hope, acknowledges the reality of both, and defines a path forward to a life of joyful defiance. That path runs through Holy Saturday, a day that has one foot in the fear, grief, and death of Good Friday while the other is in Easter, a day of hope, freedom, life, and joy.
Christians are not immune from experiencing anxiety, anger, exhaustion, and grief--emotions and effects arising from personal and communal trauma, including the trauma of death. Yet, the accompanying angst and pain, while real, are not the last word for people of faith. This book is written particularly for advocates, caregivers, and those who suffer in any number of ways, among them chronic illness, chronic injustice, and chronic exhaustion. Despite facing grief, anger, fear, and fatigue, readers will be encouraged not just to cope but to embrace hope and joy again, and then to plow them back into the ground of the wider world for the sake of their neighbors.
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