CONNECTING WITH THE HEART OF GOD IN GRIEF: EMPLOYING NARRATIVE IN CHRISTIAN BEREAVEMENT CARE
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This thesis argues that Christian bereavement care needs to proceed from a solid biblical foundation in determining the goal (receiving comfort from God), model (by focusing on communion with God), and method of care (through narrative and relationship) to guard against secular influences and to bring soul-satisfying comfort to the bereaved. Chapter 1 introduces the thesis. Chapter 2 critically evaluates contemporary bereavement care approaches. Chapter 3 explores the human experience of grief by examining autobiographical narratives and God’s account of the origin of grief in the Genesis narrative. Chapter 4 develops the argument for a theocentric and Christocentric approach. A proposed bereavement care framework is derived from the way Jesus relates to the bereaved and God. Chapter 5 offers practical guidelines on caring for the bereaved using eight relational steps. Chapter 6 concludes by drawing together the arguments to demonstrate how employing narrative in Christian bereavement care effectively connects the bereaved with the heart of God.