We have all experienced grief. Grief comes in many forms, there is not only the grief of the loss of a loved one, but sometimes the grief of the loss of a marriage, or a friend or relative -not through death, but through estrangement. There is the grief of our loss of self, sometimes, through injury or through life changes. So how do we deal with the loss of someone near and dear to us during a pandemic? My heart goes out to those who can have no funeral or in some cases even attend the burial. A funeral is a way to begin the healing process of loss. It is a time of letting go, and a time of joy when we listen to others tell their memories of a loved one. After the funeral, we gather together, break bread, and the letting go and healing continues as we begin to go on without the physical presence of our loved one.
At my Mother’s funeral I went into the kitchen to pay for the meal that had been so lovingly prepared. I asked the cost and was told that my Mother had spent so many hours in that same kitchen preparing meals for mourners that they would not accept any money. I knew this about my Mother and recalled standing in that same kitchen washing communion cups with her many years before. I was humbled by their generosity and the honor they gave to my Mother. At my Father’s funeral I was told that the Saturday Rummage Sale that my Mother had begun to help feed the hungry was still being held. I was so pleased and comforted that she was still remembered. At my Father’s luncheon the Pastor recalled how when my Father was out of town, he would bring back a Bulletin from whatever church he had attended to show the Pastor that he had gone to church. I had not known that he went to church when he was out of town. I was pleased to hear that something that started years ago when we nagged and cajoled him into going to church had taken such roots. All of these things add to the healing process of our grief during normal times, but how do we cope during a Pandemic? People have told of the wonderful letters or phone calls they have received with stories they will treasure. Those stories are gifts we give each other. We find a way to move on from our grief and we find a way to comfort those who have suffered loss.
“Jesus wept.”John 11:35
“So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”Isaiah 41:10
Lord be with us during this pandemic, be with those who are our frontline, be with those who are ill, be with those who are dying, be with those who grieve. Be with our Pastor, bless his ministry as he ministers in new ways. Bless him and be with his family. Be with the staff that prepares our services. Be with our church family as we find new ways to do and be the church. Be with us as we seek to be the hands and feet of Christ. Amen.