Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4, NRSV)
In the last two months two people who were significant mentors in ministry to me have crossed from this life into the next. Since the middle of March, a number of church members and friends have passed away. Although none of these deaths were the result of the COVID-19, I know others whose deaths were caused by the virus. You probably do, too.
I can also identify several people related to my family and to our church family who are living their last days, some with loved ones by their sides and some alone because of restrictions related to the pandemic. You may be a person living in your own last chapter, or you may be the loved one walking alongside.
These are difficult times in many ways: fear of becoming ill, despair about work and finances, loneliness caused by prolonged social isolation, and anxiety about the future, to name a few.
For many of us, grief is an additional burden. Our mourning the deaths of loved ones is intensified by our inability to gather together for a shared meal or memorial service. Our grief lingers because we cannot use “getting back to our routines” as a coping mechanism. Nothing about our lives is the way it was. We grieve that, too.
The text above is one of the blessings of the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:1-12. Ten words that offer us hope for these times. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. This is a promise I trust. I cannot say exactly when or how you or I will find comfort to get us through our grief, but I can say with confidence that we will be comforted if we can open our hearts to experience God’s loving presence. God may come to us in new and perhaps unexpected ways, but God is faithful. God loves us just as we are—when we are mourning and when we are rejoicing. God hears our prayer and offers to us the peace that passes all understanding.
Rev. Dr. Sharon Harris-Ewing
For those who are grieving:
Holy Comforter: We lift to you all the burdens on our heart. We mourn the passing of loved ones near and far. We grieve the loss of life as we know it. We open our hearts to receive the comfort and peace that come from your loving presence. We pray in the name of Jesus, who proclaimed, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Amen.