These two words have been haunting me since I heard we passed the grim milestone of 100,000 lost in this pandemic. Today those figures grew again, each one a cause for grief, for sadness- for those who loved them, knew them, worked alongside them and, in their final days, those who cared for them, held their hands and fought to save them.
Trying to comprehend what those numbers look like and mean for all who have lost loved ones is hard and perhaps something we prefer not to dwell on. We look for the good news, the vaccine roll-out, the dropping of new cases, the positive and not the stories of grief and loss. And, whilst I believe that there always hope, there are times too when it is right to grieve-for those we know and those we do not know. For those who have died in our country and throughout the world. The Bible calls us to Lament-most notably perhaps in the book of Lamentations, but also in many of the Psalms. Lament is not about blame or accusation but simply about mourning loss. We are called to “mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep”, to remember that there is a “time to weep”. Most powerfully however for me are those two simple words;
At the grave of his friend, seeing the distress of those who had lost a loved one, a brother, a friend, Jesus weeps. He weeps even though he knows that this is not the end for Lazarus, he weeps even though he himself is “the resurrection and the life”. Jesus weeps.
So, in our prayers, in our weeping and in our sorrow, we come to one who understands and who stands by us to offer hope, to offer new life-but first of all to one who weeps with us.
God of all consolation
Your Son Jesus Christ was moved to tears
At the grave of Lazarus his friend.
Look with compassion on your children in their loss;
Give to troubled hearts the light of hope
And strengthen in us the gift of faith
In Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer from Common Worship copyright © The Archbishops’ Council