The Ministry of Grieving
Perhaps you never thought of “grieving” as a ministry, but times of sorrow certainly give opportunity to help people in need, and serving others is at the very heart of the Christian’s walk. Paul wrote the quite familiar “weep with those who weep,” but I’m not sure we’ve grasped all the possibilities in those five words.
Weeping with others is well illustrated in this story told by author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia:
A four-year-old was next door neighbor to an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man crying, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap and just sat there.
When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, “Nothing. I just helped him cry.”
Wow, what an insight into weep with those who weep! Too often our own fulfillment of Paul’s directive is to make a visit to the funeral home and maybe a covered dish to the home. Perhaps a sympathy card in a couple of weeks. But then the one in the throes of sorrow is left to themselves.
Death makes us all uncomfortable, and we’d just as soon not talk about it nor be around it. But what a great opportunity to show the love of Christ when death has visited among us - Christians who should know more about death than any other people on earth.
How can we help others cry? Consider each situation carefully. Pray with, sit with, visit with, listen to. Take that meal; a snack; a cake. Donuts and coffee. Gift card for food. Make a call (more than one). Offer to go get groceries or other necessities. Give a hug, hold a hand, shed a tear. Provide a scripture. Above all: remember and be available. Pray for guidance, and let God lead you in gracious ways of helping others grieve.