In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5, we read, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Those words have new meaning for me after the recent death of my dear mother-in-law. When I posted my mother-in-law’s obituary on Facebook, many of my friends shared comments of sympathy, as well as prayers. What a comfort it was to readthrough those kind and caring words! It was uplifting to know that people were praying for our family. One friend, who has herself experienced a great loss, shared a poignant prayer that truly touched my heart. She wrote, “I pray you are surrounded by love, compassion, and kindness and that you feel God's immediate presence in the days ahead. And I pray God uses His Church to provide all the love, support, compassion, and grace you need as you face the feelings and grief of this loss.”
I was so touched by those words, not only by the compassion and care my friend showed by writing them, but by what they showed me about the many ways God was indeed using His Church. We were blessed while we mourned, for we were comforted by our church and school family.We attended church the morning of the funeral. Our pastor, church staff members, and fellow parishioners shared their condolences, gave us hugs, asked if we needed anything, and offered their continued prayers for our family. We were blessed while we mourned, for we were comforted.God’s mercy and love were shown to our children from within their Lutheran school. Fellow parents offered to provide transportation to school and extra-curricular events. Our children’s teachers and former teachers offered prayers for them, gave them hugs, and even attended the funeral visitation. Friends of our children attended the funeral and came to our home afterwards, as well. My children were blessed while they mourned, for they were comforted.Our family is a part of a small group Bible study. The members of our small group checked in with us, asking if they could help with our children, bring a meal, or provide support in any way. When we hosted our family and friends at our home following the funeral, our small group came. They brought the flowers from the funeral home and arranged them throughout the house. They made and brought desserts, iced the drinks, served the food, did the dishes, and took out the garbage. They left us meals. When we didn’t even know what we needed, they provided it. Blessed were we while we mourned, for we were comforted.I have always considered it a blessing to work in Lutheran schools and churches. It is a privilege to be able to serve God’s people through school ministry. In challenging times, the work of God through His church on earth is so clearly visible. This week my family was blessed as we mourned, for we were comforted by God through His people.