So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it, I Corinthians 12:26-27, HCSB.
We weren’t sure exactly what to do. Dear friends of ours had lost their husband, father and our friend to a difficult disease. We knew he had the illness, but his body had managed it for years. Then, in two weeks, he was gone. What do you say to a nineteen year old who has just lost his dad? What do you say to his sisters? To his mom?
We went through the “normal” expectations for a funeral. We brought food, we went to the viewing, and we were there for the funeral. We did our best not to intrude, but to be there for our grieving friends. We grieved with them. But, there was a moment when we realized it wasn’t anything we could say, it wasn’t the food we brought or the card we had sent—even though each one of those things was important and we needed it to do them. It was being there with them at that particular moment that let them know how important they are in our lives, and how much we would miss their husband/dad. And it was a hug that triggered it.
When a nineteen year old young man, trying to be brave and strong for his newly widowed mom and hurting sisters, looked at us with tears in his eyes and could not say a word, I just hugged him. We never said a word; we didn’t need to. In that moment, he knew we were suffering with him, and we would be there with them for the days ahead. So many times I hear people say, “I’m not going to go to the funeral because I don’t know what to say.” Just be there. Show up and let them know that the body of Christ hurts with them. Let them know they are still connected.
In the days since the funeral, we have watched the family persevere and make tough decisions. We’ve also seen them smile again as graduation came for one of the sisters and life’s little joys returned—birthdays, a new kitten, and a remodeling project done well. We rejoiced in those moments too, because we are connected. Be there when you can and be a part of the body—it’s how we all find the way to keep functioning.
Thought-provoker: Have we ever taken the time to consider that our presence matters?
Lord, thank You that we are connected. Thank You that our sorrows and our joys are shared in the body of Christ. Help us be there for each other today, and in the days ahead. In Jesus’ name, Amen.