“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:8
Grief and loss are a normal part of life but they are never welcome. Remembering that the core of our congregations are the active-retired living in Brittany, many of us will have experienced a recent bereavement. For some it is a lifelong partner, best friend, sibling or even tragically a child. These losses can become deeper because being in France, we are somewhat isolated from family and old friends. Helen Keller said, “We bereaved are not alone. We belong to the largest company in all the world-the company of those who have known suffering.” Yet we can feel very alone in our suffering. Does anyone really understand the feelings we go through?
Someone once observed their grief, “Everyone grieves in different ways. For some, it could take longer or shorter. I do know it never disappears. An ember still smolders inside me. Most days, I don’t notice it, but, out of the blue, it will flare to life.”
Another person remarked, “But I guess death is like that. It takes away from you in an instant the people you’ve cherished for a whole lifetime. Just like that. As simple as that. And you are suddenly left with two things: anger for having been deprived of your beloved for no reason at all; and emptiness, a vacuum that gnaws right at your heart where all the joyful moments once had been.”
Many Churches use All Saints Day (this year Friday November 1st) as an occasion to pay respect to the memory of the deceased and give opportunity for the bereaved to come together for support, prayer, sharing and comfort. We propose to do this in our congregation on Sunday November 3rd. There will be interactive ways to name our loss and express our hopes. You will hear more details about this later, but for now please remember the date. You could mention the special service to neighbours who might benefit.
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.” Revelation 21
A prayer for the bereaved.
God of all consolation,
your Son Jesus Christ was moved to tears
at the grave of Lazarus his friend.
Look with compassion on your children in their loss;