Landon’s debut Christian devotional book goes where relatively few such books have gone by examining how grief can influence Christian worship.
Landon states several times in his book that he has observed a correlation between grief and a bereaved person’s interaction with the rest of the world, including their church participation. As a pastor of several different churches and a former hospice chaplain, Landon wrote this book to combat this troubling link. After describing the grieving process, he offers ways to invite the notion of grief into worship services. He presents complete worship services for a variety of occasions, from All Saints Day to Ash Wednesday to run-of-the-mill Sundays that may fall near the anniversary of the death of an important church member. In his services, he includes hymns, litanies, special poems and readings, and even full texts of sermons. Although he acknowledges that every church will pick and choose elements from these services to match their own styles, seeing a complete service helps convey the tone and intent behind the offering. Landon also discusses the importance of rituals in the grieving process, in both personal and communal worship. Rituals can be as complex as a full funeral service or as simple as lighting candles. One particular ritual that receives in-depth examination is walking a labyrinth—an ancient, revered Christian tradition that’s tied to the theme of grieving through worship—but with an entire chapter devoted to the practice, it seems out of place. It’s obviously a passion of Landon’s, although it’s not quite clear why walking a labyrinth has been singled out here. Also, a distracting number of grammatical errors detract from the thought-provoking premise.
An enlightening though unpolished take on a universal subject, which could prove useful for pastors and worship leaders trying to reach their own grieving members.