Looking back this week through my archived messages, I (Matthew) came across two from recent years which seemed so appropriate to our current circumstances that they seemed worth recycling and merging into one timely reminder of God’s healing love in the face of loss.
From time to time, we reflect on a literal understanding of ‘re-membering’ as involving putting back together something that has been dis-membered. When we are ‘re-membered’, broken, damaged and dismembered aspects of our past lives are put together again; mind, body and soul enjoy wholeness once more; and helplessness in the face of an unknown future gives way to resurrection hope. Our thoughts are often linked with Jesus’ instructions to share bread and wine in remembrance of him, as we remember that the good news of the Gospel is about finding God’s forgiveness through the power of the cross, and a new start in life through the joy of the empty tomb.
At a very practical level, one way that we seek God’s grace to heal our brokenness in the face of loss is to offer services of remembrance in which we bring God our feelings and circumstances. Remembrance Sunday is one such opportunity, focusing on lives lost in the horrors of war, and pointing us to the constant need to ‘…if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.’ (Romans 12:18) So this Remembrance Sunday, pray for those who are nursing the wounds of the untimely loss of family, friends and colleagues. Pray that the God of all comfort will defeat the power of their experience of death, and that somehow he would use the good memories of their loved ones to nurse their wounds.
And if the loss of loved ones through any circumstance has been (or remained) a significant part of your experience during this difficult and prolonged season of pandemic, why not join us at 5pm on Sunday 5th December as we hold a special service to help each other find God’s comfort, peace and strength as we remember the past, struggle with the present and seek hope for the future.
Our prayer is that as we remember those we have loved and lost, we will reaffirm and give thanks for all that they mean to us; so that instead of being shaped by our loss we are shaped by the gains we still have from knowing them in the first place, which have helped us to be the people God calls us to be.
With our love and prayers,
Matthew and Pauline