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.