A prayer when contact is restricted and funerals are small

Savior, who sits down and weeps with us
for all our losses,
as you did with Mary and Martha,
even when you know and we believe
in the alleluia rising up
from every sadness, every death,

we pray in this time of pandemic
for those whose dear ones
are near the end of their journeys
but who cannot visit in hospital or hospice
until the time of active dying,

May a few words be as powerful as many,
and deep grace as holy as long hours.

We pray, also for those who love someone
who died of cancer or heart disease,
of traffic accident, gun shot, overdose,
alzheimer’s, diabetes, drowning,
lung disease, a fall, suicide, or coronavirus

and whose precious life cannot be celebrated
in visiting hours and large funerals,
in receptions and mercy meals,
with hugs and handshakes
with clusters of friends in a cemetery
telling old stories.

Some occasions will be delayed,
others shared through gifts of technology,
but all will be different than expected
even a month ago.

We pray for those who work
in funeral services,
for clergy, musicians, officiants, friends
longing to bring comfort,
trying so hard to explain in gentle ways.

May they find ways to roll away
the stones of despair,
and unbind the aching
for the touch of the one who has died
and the touch of friends still living.

And may we all find the eastering truth,
God given, in the hearts
of those of all faiths and no faith —
that they are not alone,
that memory will rise up
with a thousand kindnesses,

and a holy weeping tenderness,
we may know as Jesus,
comes to call their dear ones home.

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14 Responses to A prayer when contact is restricted and funerals are small

  1. heydensdongmailcom says:

    This strikes closer to home! Don

    On Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 5:40 AM Gifts in Open Hands wrote:

    > Maren posted: “Savior, who sits down and weeps with us for all our losses, > as you did with Mary and Martha, even when you know and we believe in the > alleluia rising up from every sadness, every death, we pray in this time of > pandemic for those whose dear ones ” >

    • Maren says:

      I am so sorry if that is a personal comment. I find it circling around me — people in hospital or nursing home or memory care or hospice who can’t be visited and people delaying or doing online for funerals and feeling so much lack of closure.

  2. heydensdongmailcom says:

    I know you get Maren posts, BJ. I just sent this out to a group of people. I find that what she is writing now to be quite helpful. don

    On Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 5:40 AM Gifts in Open Hands wrote:

    > Maren posted: “Savior, who sits down and weeps with us for all our losses, > as you did with Mary and Martha, even when you know and we believe in the > alleluia rising up from every sadness, every death, we pray in this time of > pandemic for those whose dear ones ” >

  3. this is truly powerful and such as it is. God can heal our hearts even through it hurts. My mom is a Nursing Home and we’ve been able to video -face time but its not the same – yet I’m grateful to hear her voice. She went into the nursing home before all this started for rehabilitation on her leg, and then they had to keep her for the other medical issues. All I can do is pray. I’m so glad I read this -this morning strengthens my heart…

    • Maren says:

      Bless you and your care for her. It is so hard. And I am so glad she can enjoy the face time. I have a friend whose husband is in memory care. Facetime is too confusing but he is on the first floor so she can do and stand outside and they wave at each other.

  4. Thank you for this prayer. The thing I’m most dreading is trying to figure out how to comfort a family in grief and how to lead a meaningful memorial service on line.

    • Maren says:

      With some time to prepare (which you don’t always have) you can invite people to contribute — ask a soloist to sing at home then insert it, put photos online, have family members read scripture. Anything that personalizes helps, but just being willing to do it (and not be negative like it is less-than) really helps. Mostly it is your love that will shine through.

      • We had our first Zoomed memorial service on Wednesday. It went well and the grieving family was served, which is what we want to do.

      • Maren says:

        I am so glad that you were able to care for the family and friends. Sometimes doing this in a timely fashion rather than extended waiting is very important.

  5. Joy Larsen says:

    Lovely. Helpful. As a senior Mom wood ring encouraged by adult children to stay home, while they drop things on my porch, all of us missing the hug, touch, kiss. This brings me love.

  6. Jerry Hebenstreit says:

    As I first read, I realized that Jesus must ahve had a small funeral, too. Between the rush to bury by sundown and fear of Roman/Jewish authorities, there must not have been time to grieve. And they didn’t have the knowledge at that time to deal with their grief…that came later, on Easter.

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