Ephesians 6:22– I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may console and cheer and encourage and strengthen your hearts (AMP).
The black cloth-wrapped-body was rolled to the cemetery on a stretcher. The cantor read scriptures about judgment and meeting God. The grieving family cut their clothing. They would wear these same items for seven days. The body was covered with concrete slabs and earth was shoveled over top. This was my friend’s experience at a funeral in Israel.
Different in some ways, familiar in others, funerals have one thing in common. Most of us don’t know what to say to the bereaved. Pastor Cliff Fletcher offers good advice on ways to comfort.
“When in doubt, remember a hug, a firm handshake and ‘I’m sorry’ goes a long way. Pray before speaking. This is not the time for advice or sermons. Instead, give memories. Mention times shared. Comfort doesn’t end at the funeral. Holidays and birthdays are coming up. Be available. Send a card. Make a phone call.”
When the next sad occasion happens, let’s make an effort to comfort the bereaved. Why not ask God to watch our mouths and help us do or say the right thing? There are many opportunities at the Christmas season. Many people find it to be the most difficult time of the year.
Prayer–Dear God, remind us to pray before speaking and then let consolation and cheer be our goal. Thanks. In Jesus’ name. Amen.