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Column: We are called upon to support one another in times of grief, loss

First Lutheran Church is hosting a GriefShare group starting Sept. 7.

072220.O.DG.PASTORCOLUMN
McCormick

One of the things I value most about being a part of a congregation is that our communities of faith, at their best, serve as places for people to honestly share their pain and hurt with each other. In particular, one of the most important tasks of the church, in my opinion, is to support people through funerals and times of loss.

As Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

However, many times, we who are pastors and parishioners struggle with how to support someone who is experiencing grief and loss. We want to offer a quick fix or magically healing words when there are none. We become so worried about saying the wrong thing that it is easier to say nothing at all.

For us, as Christians, our ministry to our neighbors who are grieving should be primarily a ministry of presence. We need to be the ones who dare to ask how someone is doing, knowing that the answer might be, “It’s been really hard….”

We are the ones who are called to stay and sit with someone mourning, knowing that simply being there may be the most powerful thing we can do. We are the ones who should step up when we are asked to do specific tasks. We are the ones who need to remember the saints in our lives through prayers and cards.

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During 2020 and the start of 2021, many of the ways we normally would comfort each other in times of grief did not exist or were modified. Likewise, we are soon approaching the time of year that tends to bring out many intense feelings of loss. The people that one normally gathers with for the holidays are no longer here, and this can be painful and disorienting for someone who has lost a loved one.

As we approach fall, I encourage all of us to think about who might be mourning the loss of a loved one. For whom might this be a challenging season? Then, each one of us is called to offer peace and comfort in whatever ways we can.

First Lutheran is hosting a GriefShare group again this year. People from all denominational backgrounds are welcome to participate. The group is led by caring people who have experienced grief and want to help each other through the difficult days ahead.

The group will use video sessions and workbook activities. Each session includes conversation time during which people can share their feelings, experiences and how they resonated with the material. People are invited to share as much or as little as they choose. There is no cost. Refreshments will be provided.

The groups will meet from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays starting on Sept. 7, at First Lutheran Church, 1200 Fourth Ave., Worthington. The course ends Nov. 30.

Please call First Lutheran at 376-6148 to register or for further information. You may join at any time from the first to the last class.

Jeanette McCormick is pastor at Worthington's First Lutheran Church.

Related Topics: FAITH
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