Mother’s Union Devotion Sunday 21st March, the Fifth Sunday in Lent
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ John 11. 33-36
Over the past year each of us has lost someone that they know. Maybe not to Covid-19 but a loss is a loss, and this has not been a good year in which to come to terms with such losses. For over a year we have not been able to say goodbye to people in the way that we would have liked. The number allowed to attend a funeral has been so small that for many people not even all the direct family have not been able to attend. So, we have all missed out on paying our respects to our friends, work colleagues, neighbours and extended family. In some cases, we know that even some immediate family members have not been able to attend funerals because they are self-isolating at home.
Then there has been the other unbelievably cruel consequence of the pandemic, loved ones have passed away without those closest to them by their side. This disease is too contagious to allow for even the essential compassionate goodbyes. Words have gone unspoken, hands have not been held by us, love has been held at a distance. So how do we begin to move on?
Jesus did not respond immediately to Mary and Martha’s message about how sick Lazarus was and was therefore not present when his friend died. When he finally arrived in Bethany he was deeply moved by the feelings of loss and despair that Mary’s weeping expressed. So moved that Jesus himself wept. Despite knowing the plans he had for Lazarus, the knowledge that this death was not the end, Jesus still felt the pain of grief and loss that we feel.
The crowds at Lazarus’ tomb recognised Jesus’ tears as a sign of just how much he loved Lazarus. Jesus recognises that our tears, our grief is a sign of the love we have for those we have shared our lives with. So, it is to Jesus that we can turn when the pain of grief gets too much. Finding time to express the very real emotions of the cruel injustice of having those precious last moments together stolen from us or the inability to say goodbye at a funeral in the way we needed to do. Asking for his help in the incredibly difficult and lonely days ahead when we cannot always share our pain with others. We can also say to Jesus the words we would like to have said to those we have lost because we know that Jesus is in all things, knows all things and love all things both earthly and heavenly.
God our creator, redeemer and sustainer, thank you for the lives of those we have known, loved and lost this year. Be with us as we walk through the path of grief. Help us to find healing through the constancy of your love and ours. Amen
With all my love and prayers,