In Times of Bereavement

​Sanctuary First is a place where you can just be. I’m writing this section especially for you or perhaps a friend of yours who has recently been bereaved. I certainly do not know exactly how you feel. I think too often friends and family try to empathise with us in our grief by saying ” I know how you feel” The truth is no one really knows how you feel. And in a strange way you don’t want to think that someone else could possibly understand your situation. It’s all to private and the wound you have feels raw and open.

Everyone has to deal with bereavement in their own unique way. Don’t listen to people who expect you to get over your loss in a few months. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. You need to allow yourself time to grieve and time to begin to reshape the world that has changed all around you. There is more to life than you might imagine.

I don’t know what you think about life after death. All I’d like to say at this point is I don’t want to talk too much about the way my faith has helped me in my times of bereavement. Instead I’d like to encourage you to begin to follow your own spiritual journey.

Sanctuary First seeks to be a safe place where people can engage with their search for meaning and faith without feeling overwhelmed or trapped in anyway by another person. Let me just encourage you to deepen your faith and before long you will find yourself drawing from it.

Prayer is something most people do. Indeed we are often more expert in it than we might imagine. People pray in a variety of ways and places. Sometimes a prayer can be a thought, a feeling, a longing. Believe this or not, sometimes God helps us make a prayer, when we can’t pray. He knows we don’t know what to pray for yet he draws close to us, he hears us when we are silent.

The Bible is the one book that has brought a great deal of comfort and insight to millions of people going through the darkest times in their lives. Here at Sanctuary First you will find verses from the Bible which I’m sure will be a source of comfort and strength to you through the coming weeks and months.

Readings

  • But now, God’s Message,
    the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
    the One who got you started, Israel:

    “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
    When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
    When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
    Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
    I paid a huge price for you:
    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
    That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
    I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.

    Isa 43. 1-4 (The Message)
    NIV
  • The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
    he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
    He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
    Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
    I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

    You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
    You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
    Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
    and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

    Psalm 23: 1-6 (NIV)
    NIV
  • ​Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

    Matthew 11: 28-30
    NIV
  • ​‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

    John 14:1-3
    NIV
  • Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

    John 14: 27
    NIV

Prayers

  • A Glimmer of Hope

    We come, Lord,
    In this hour of darkness
    knowing that you will strengthen and comfort us.
    We come, Lord,
    knowing that you stand beside us, around us, in us.
    We come, Lord,
    knowing that you will never desert us, not now, not ever.

    But for now, Lord,
    like Jeremiah we sit among the ashes and weep.
    We are in torment.
    Our hearts are broken.
    We are bereft.

    For now, Lord,
    all seems lost
    we remain in the dark
    oblivious to a new day dawning.

    For now, Lord,
    our eyes are filled with tears
    we cry out in pain
    And are without hope.

    For now, Lord, carry us we are your people you are our strength
    we give thanks that your power, your fairness, your faithfulness will restore us.

    Evermore.

    Amen

  • Believe

    Mighty God,
    By your power Christ is raised from death to rule this world with love.
    We believe this.
    We believe in You.
    But for now, our grief is raw.
    We feel empty.

    Today the clouds of sorrow hang low and threatening, and we are fearful.
    Our world has been turned upside down.
    Nothing will ever be the same again.
    We find it hard to accept.
    Yet this is what you ask of us.
    In acceptance lies peace – not in forgetting, nor in resignation, nor in busy-ness.
    You have not promised us peace without sorrow; joy without pain……

    It’s hard.
    Very hard, Lord.
    But into your love and keeping we now commit ourselves, now and always.

    Amen

  • God's Protection

    ​Loving God
    You have been there since the beginning of time -
    rescue me from the depths of the earth
    and comfort me in this time of need.

    Take my hand and hold me
    that I may find in you

    ~ A rock to stand firm on

    ~ A sheltering place of safety and security

    ~ Foundations which will not give way

    and on which I can rebuild my life.

    Take my hand and hold me
    that I may lean on you
    and trust you ~
    in the childlike confidence
    that you will not let me go.

    Take my hand and hold me
    until I can regain my equilibrium
    where the shifting sands become firm once again beneath my feet.
    You are my rock, my refuge, my strength

    Hold me ~
    with a love that is constant
    with a love that is past, present and future
    with a love that never ends.

    Thank you, Loving God.

  • Dwell with Us

    ​Here we are, Lord ~
    at a crossroads
    not sure which way to go.

    Direct us on our way ~
    Fill us with clarity
    and confidence
    so that we do not wander from the path
    which is lit for us.

    In life

    In death

    Dwell with us,

    Lord God Almighty.

  • Walk by my side

    ​Dear God

    Help me get through today.
    The journey of grief is too great
    to travel alone.
    I can’t do this on my own
    Please walk by my side
    your presence will bring me comfort and strength.

    Amen

Denial

​One of the early stages in bereavement is the strange feeling of denial that seems to haunt many of us. How are you feeling a friend asks ? You... read more

Restlessness

​I’ve talked to hundreds of bereaved people in my life, I guess it’s my job as a pastor. You know its a great privilege to be brought into a family... read more

Pain and Guilt

​There is no real order to all these feelings I’m talking about. They come and go and stay and then depart, Only to return another day. Then the... read more

Anger

​Another stage of grief is anger. You should be aware of this. Anger manifests itself in different ways. It’s not always expressed through shouting... read more