20th MARCH

Freedom for those who mourn

Matthew 5: 4

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

I don’t often get the bit between my teeth and dig my heals in, but from early on in the pandemic I have done just that.  Lockdown and other necessary restrictions have had an effect on almost every area in life leading to so much change in everything we do.  Restrictions have had a huge affect on families who have suffered the loss of a loved one.  They haven’t been able to grieve as they would normally have been allowed to with  few, if any, visitors and restricted numbers at services.

My fear is that so much what been allowed to build up inside causing so much damage to people’s emotional state and, as a result, their physical state.  At a time of loss it is important  that we have some kind of release.  It can be sitting with family and friends, or even the minister, talking about the person who died with tears mingled with laughter.  It can be as simple as knowing that we have a shoulder to cry on.  It can be handshake or even a hug.  And, although people have been trying to find others ways of expressing love and support, there is no replacement for the real thing.  There is no replacement for people actually and physically around us.

So, in light of all of this how can they, or any of us, find comfort at a time of loss when we are perhaps at a loss about what to do?  This bold statement in the Beatitudes comes from Jesus himself.  There is no perhaps, but a definite “they WILL be comforted”.  How can he be so sure and, anyway, where will this comfort come from?

The comfort comes from the one who made the promise.  It comes from the one who fulfilled all the promises of God.  It is knowing that we are not alone.  It is catching sight of and hold of the hope of moving beyond the challenges of the present to more settled days when peace comes to settle on us and settle within us.  Jesus, who knew himself the heartache of loss when his friend Lazarus died, accompanies us through difficult times.  The same Jesus who rose again from the dead and assured us, not just of a place of peace beyond this life, but also that he will accompany us through life and death is.

God is indeed with us.  He is with us in our joys and our sorrows.  He is with us in his son Jesus Christ and will never ever leave us.

  • What has your experience of loss been?  How did you cope?  Did you cope?  How have you been comforted?

Holy Spirit, settle on us that we might know peace,

work within us that we might know comfort,

walk beside us that we might see a way through and beyond.

AMEN.