UMCOR Sunday (Formerly One Great Hour of Sharing)–March 26

On March 26, we will celebrate UMCOR Sunday, previously known as One Great Hour of Sharing. On this church wide Special Sunday, United Methodists focus on the work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). UMCOR responds to natural disasters and humanitarian crises around the globe.

Recently UMCOR responded to the situation in Flint, Michigan, where residents – including thousands of children – were exposed to lead in their drinking water since April 2014. UMCOR provided a grant to support local United Methodist churches and other agencies to address the problem. This community, somewhat reluctant to trust government agencies, welcomed The United Methodist Church.

On UMCOR Sunday, we share the goodness of life with people who hurt. Our designated gifts to UMCOR go directly toward relief efforts. Our offering pays administrative expenses for UMCOR and supports ministries of food, shelter, health, and peace. When we assist UMCOR with our offering, we are part of the important work that happens in places like Flint, Michigan. Please give thanks for our blessings and consider giving generously on UMCOR Sunday.

Thursday Devotion

“I’ll Pray for You”

by Rhoda Barnhart

 

“My thoughts & prayers are with you”. We hear it —on radio & TV broadcasts, in church, and see it on face book, greeting cards, and more.

How about follow-up? For instance –you run into a friend at the grocery store. In a brief visit you learn she/he has a scary diagnosis and is concerned. It’s easy to say “I’ll pray for you.” Or find an encouraging card to send & add “I’ll be praying for you.” And does that happen? As other demands pile up—does that promise get fulfilled? For many of us I suspect it sometimes gets “lost in the shuffle.” Or, perhaps we observe a need, and simply “feel bad” for that person.

Let’s remember: “… the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5: 16.)

Prayers don’t have to be long, spoken aloud, grammatically correct, or done while kneeling. God wants us to pray and develop a relationship with Him. A simple prayer-time a friend observes is one I’ve adopted. When the fire siren rings she prays for the first responders, firefighters and victim(s) needing help. Another brief prayer-time I’ve adopted is: when I’m driving behind slow moving farm equipment, I pray for the farmer: his/her safety, crops, family—and patiently wait during the delay.

At the end of the day, before drifting off to sleep we can ask ourselves—did I pray for the needs of anyone—or myself today? God is near—as one hymn writer puts it: “He’s Only a Prayer Away.”

Vs.1 “There’s someone who loves every sinner, He’s calling, O hear Him today; “Tis Jesus, our blessed redeemer, He’s only a prayer away.

Vs. 2 He has an infinite power, and so many things He can do; He’ll be ready to help you, Just ask Him to come to you.

Vs. 3 When others forsake and desert you, and you’re in the depth of despair; Let God share your burden and sorrow, Just seek Him and He’ll be there.

Chorus: He’s only a prayer away, He’s only a prayer away; God will be with you whenever you pray. He’s only a prayer away.”

If you’ve been feeling a need/desire to have a closer relationship with God/Jesus, a good place to start is with prayer. If unsure how to pray—-do it as you would talk to a friend. Beloved by many, this hymn explains “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”

Vs. 1 “What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry Every thing to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer.”

Verses 2 & 3 describe how we can benefit by taking our burdens,sorrows, and cares to God in prayer. “Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, Help us remember when we, loved ones, or friends are burdened with cares that You’re listening, 24/7, —waiting for our prayers.

 

 

 

Thursday Devotion

“Get the Ugly Out” By Steven Grace

Micah 6:8 (NIV)

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.     And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy     and to walk humbly with your God.

Isaiah 1:16-17 (NIV)

16 Wash and make yourselves clean.     Take your evil deeds out of my sight;     stop doing wrong. 17 Learn to do right; seek justice.     Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless;     plead the case of the widow.

 

Some days I sit and wonder how we have gotten to this point? It seems like every time I scroll through my social media, I see hate-filled posts littering my timelines. And it pains me that it comes from a wide variety of sources. (Here are some hypotheticals: Whites/Blacks/Christians/Muslims/any ethnicity are bad because ________; Liberals/Conservatives/Libertarians are buffoons/ignorant/racist/etc.). That pretty much sums up a lot of the links that get shared. Are these topics 100% right or wrong? Not anywhere close. But that’s not the debate here.

I truly feel that if we all take a step back, take a deep breath, and take the time to listen and learn about the issues, we would be in a much better place. Are there racial tensions in our country? Absolutely. But rather than lump one group of people together and label them as good/bad/ignorant, why can’t we look for the root of the problem. Why is there racial tension? Why can’t we see that all people are God’s children, and we’re all the same? Why is our political climate so contentious? Why can’t we realize that as citizens of the same country, we should have similar goals that should make this country better, even if we can’t agree on the exact way to do that?

The scriptures I chose remind us that God wants us to take care of our neighbors. The Greatest Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37, 39) No matter our political leanings or race or profession or whatever qualifier you want to put on someone, we need to love our neighbors. Even if we disagree with them, we love them. Even if they say something we don’t like, we love them. When we can spread that love, a lot more of the ugly in the world will disappear, and then we all will be much better off.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the love you have shared with us, in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Guide us to spread that love to our neighbors to get the ugly out of our world. AMEN.

Thursday Devotion

“Feed Me”    By Deborah Schoenfelder

“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

John 6:35

“Just like the body grows, there is a sense in which the spirit also grows; and just like the body needs physical food in order to grow, so the spirit needs spiritual food in order to grow.

That is why Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

Luke 4:4

I like to eat. No, I REALLY like to eat! I enjoy eating alone as well as with friends and family, but I also know that it is easy for me to overeat. When I do, my clothes start to feel tight, and I often feel sluggish. That’s when I know I have gone beyond nourishing my body to overdoing it. I am fairly well versed on the basics of nutrition: Lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, making sure to get protein in my diet; and limiting fat, sugar, and salt. I also understand the concept of portion control, but that doesn’t mean I always follow that advice. Can anyone relate? It’s especially difficult for me when dining out, and I bet I’m not alone in this challenge.

A common phrase these days is “Eating Clean”, not a new idea but very visible in nutrition and popular literature. There is no one definition of this concept, but in very simple terms it is the practice of eating whole, unrefined food rather than processed products and foods with extra additives. Easier said than done in our hurried lives!

The bottom line for someone like me who doesn’t especially like to cook, is that eating clean and in reasonable portions can be a struggle that I have to keep working on. That’s the bad news, at least for me. On the other hand, the GOOD NEWS is there are no limits on feeding our spirits. We can fill ourselves to overflowing with no resulting physical, emotional, or spiritual discomfort. Instead, joy pours out and we are more able to feed others. Spiritual fullness is satisfying and quenching, and the resulting joy is contagious. Hear the refrain of the hymn Fill My Cup, asking to be filled to the brim:

 “Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up, Lord! Come and quench this thirsting of my soul; Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more– Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!”

Richard Blanchard, 1959

The song attests to the life-giving food and drink that comes from opening our hearts into relationship with Christ. The sustenance that makes us feel joyfully full and content is there for our acceptance.

Another hymn speaks of our thirst for a deeper connection to God. To me, the words suggest an almost painful yearning:

“As the deer pants for the water, So my soul longs after You. You alone are my heart’s desire, And I long to worship You.”

Martin J. Nystrom, 1981

In addition to worship mentioned in the song, our hunger and thirst can be satisfied by reading and studying scripture, prayer, and Christian fellowship; all within our reach for us to partake. So when I am lamenting about what I should and should not eat and drink, I will also rejoice that I am not limited when it comes to taking care of my spiritual hunger and thirst. Go ahead, join me and indulge!

 

Prayer: Loving God of Life, we are grateful for your bounties of food and shelter that most of us take for granted. Help us to be more diligent about choosing to fill our cup and plate to overflowing with the love you offer freely. Then may we share that joy with others so that we pass it on. Praise God! AMEN.

C.O.M.E. Minutes 1/8/17

MINUTES: Outreach/Mission/Evangelism (COME) Team of Springdale UMC

January 8, 2017

In attendance: Rhoda Barnhart (chair), Deborah Schoenfelder, Jim Schoenfelder, Jim Farmer, Julie Mather, Austin Richards, Jo Leighty, Pastor Kimberly Bowles.

Minutes of October 9, 2016 were distributed for review. Joys and concerns were briefly shared, followed by opening thoughts and prayer.

Jim Farmer reported the 2016 worship attendance was 37 (This number does not include monthly Coffee and Devotions or worship services conducted by Pastor Kimberly). Rhoda reported that 67 contacts were documented in 2016.

The 2017 COME goals were discussed, updated with minor revisions, and approved.

  •  Discussion:

 

  • o Third bullet under Outreach is “Continue to identify SUMC with everything we do on behalf of SUMC.” Consensus was that we need to be more consistent in doing this.
  • o Fifth bullet under Outreach addresses inviting people to attend Sunday services by posting information at various places. We discussed the importance of personally inviting persons to attend worship services, and that was added to the statement.
  • o Second bullet under Evangelism is “Further efforts to offer evangelism curriculum and/or learning opportunities for people of all ages.” We noted there may be some opportunities in this area that may come out of the January 29 Leadership Training Event in Cedar Rapids.
  • o Third bullet under Evangelism is “Continue to encourage the congregation to openly welcome and follow up with visitors, and to collect and give visitor contact information to the pastor.” It was agreed we need to find an improved method to consistently give visitor contact information to the pastor.
  • o Second bullet under Mission is “Maintain the Mission bulletin board as a means to educate and inform the congregation.” There was general agreement that the bulletin board still serves an important function. Rhoda is the person who does most of the posting and upkeep of the Mission bulletin board.
  • o Last bullet under Mission is “Participate in an annual mission trip.” Pastor Kimberly sent inquiry emails to Bidwell-Riverside in Des Moines, and to a facility in St. Louis that feeds people who are homeless. Kimberly also mentioned the Matthew 25 group in Cedar Rapids might as a possibility for a one-day mission activity.

MISSION

1. Due to lack of time during the meeting to discuss and choose offerings for this year, the group was agreeable to having Rhoda and Deborah meet on their own and select two offering in addition to UMCOR Sunday (formerly known as One Great Hour of Sharing) as the focus for our faith giving in 2017.

2. Written report from Rachel Richards on Thanksgiving Ingathering cash and in-kind giving:

 Number of UMCOR school kits: 31 @ $11 each

 Number of UMCOR sewing kits: 7 @ $28 each

Number of INP PAD kits: 4 @ $12.50 each

 Personal Energy Transportation (PET): $326

 

  •  Shipping: $76 for school kits and sewing kits
  •  Shipping: $8 for PAD kits
  •  Total cash giving: $410 (listed as cash and checks)

 

  • Total In-Kind giving: $587

3. It was announced there will be a Leadership Development Training Event on January 29, 2017 from 2:00-5:00 PM in Cedar Rapids. Written information about the event was distributed at the meeting.

1. Contact persons for upcoming months (Jo Leighty, Coordinator): Ongoing.

2. Pastor Kimberly reported that the “Super Seconds” activities have taken place for the past few months. Attendance has been small.

 

OUTREACH

EVANGELISM

1. 2017 Family Nights: Dates will be determined when the 2017 church calendar is assembled.

Next meeting: April 2, 2017 following worship.

Devotion/Bulletin for 12/18/16

Below is the bulletin and a devotion you can use if you are unable to attend due to the cold.

 

Springdale United Methodist Church

December 18, 2016 Fourth Sunday of Advent

WE GATHER

Lighting of the Advent Candle:

Watch and wait for Christ’s coming!

Light candles of hope, peace, joy, and love,

remembering the promises of God with prayer.

We light this candle in hope. Light the first candle.

We light this candle for peace. Light the second candle.

We light this candle in joy! Light the third (pink) candle.

We light this candle with love. Light the fourth candle.

Out of love for the people of God, the Lord speaks through the prophet Isaiah, as found in the seventh chapter, verses 10-14:

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as

Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the

test. Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary

mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.

Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.

Let us pray.

God of hope, Prince of peace,

Jubilee Judge, and Lord of love,

your goodness is beyond our wildest imaginings.

You give us more than we can think to ask,

coming to us with impossible possibility

in the union of flesh and spirit.

Teach us to love this world and all people

as you love us in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

God of promise, God of hope,

into our darkness come.

*Song: To a Maid Engaged to Joseph 215

Lifting our hearts in prayer:

Joys and Concerns (Lord, hear our prayers)

The Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Song: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming 216

WE HEAR GOD’S WORD

Scripture Lessons: Matthew 1:18-25 NT 32

The Word of God for the People of God……Thanks be to God

Message: The Best Laid Plans

WE RESPOND TO GOD’S WORD

Song: Hark the Herald Angels Sing 240

Giving of Tithes and Gifts:

Offertory:

* Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow 95

Announcements:

Blessing:

Taking the Light into the World: We’ve a Story to Tell the Nations vs. 4 529

 

WE GO OUT TO SERVE

 

COMING UP

Dec 19 11AM Coffee and Devotions

Dec 22 ???6:30 Mental Illness Bible Study

Dec 24 11PM Christmas Eve Service

Dec 25 Christmas

9:00 Worship (no Sunday School)

Dec 26 2:30 Bingo at Crestview

Jan 8 11:45 C.O.M.E,

5 p.m. Game Night and Soup Cook Off

Jan 11 UMW

Jan 16 11 Coffee and Devotions

Jan 23 2:30 Bingo at Crestview

Jan 25 6:30 SPRC

7:00 Ad Board

Pastor Kimberly Bowles: cell: 319-929-8716; revkbowles@gmail.com

Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/SpringdaleUMC

Join our blog at

http://www.springdaleiaumc.wordpress.com

Christian radio stations: 89.3, 98.9, 99.1, 101.9

Please pray this week for:

Those that do not have a relationship with God

Our church

Criminals

Our pastor

Families

Our Military

Those that don’t realize they need God’s mercy

Those that have forgotten what home means

Those that long for a deep relationship

Our government

Current elected officials

Incoming elected officials

Parents

Those that are homeless

Those that are alone on the holidays

Those that are traveling

Those dealing with illnesses during the holidays

Those that feel broken

Those that feel unworthy

Those that don’t recognize God’s graceful

Question of the week: What are you doing to prepare your heart for the reign of God that will soon be born in a manger? Are you ready for an EXPERIENCE?

“Christmas has lost its meaning for us because we have lost the spirit of expectancy. We cannot prepare for an observance. We must prepare for an EXPERIENCE.” -Handel Brown

Matthew 1:18-25 (NRSV)

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah[a] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son;[b] and he named him Jesus.

The website For a Sane Faith (http://www.integrity-authenticity-love.com) has some great devotions on it. Here are a couple for today’s scripture followed by some questions I’d like you to think about or discuss with others.

Friday, December 19, 2014 “You are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Recent heavy rains had saturated the ground. Mudslide and flash flood warnings were being flashed on the television and radio stations. Julio and Ernesto were aware of the warnings but didn’t think that anything would happen during the ten minute drive from their work on their home. They were driving across a bridge over what usually was a small creek. The creek was swollen; overflowing its banks. While they were on the bridge, a wall of water washed over the bridge and swept their car into the stream. Seconds later and about one hundred yards downstream their car jammed against a large uprooted tree. Julio and Ernesto hung on to the car and waited for help to arrive.

A driver behind them had seen Julio and Ernesto washed into the creek and had called 911. Within minutes the fire department was on the scene. It took forty minutes for the crew to pull the two men to the safety of dry land. After a quick exam by the paramedic, Julio and Ernesto thanked their rescuers and were given a ride to their home. Over dinner that evening the men recounted their ordeal. In a somber mood, Julio reflected, “We were saved from the rushing water, but I wonder what we were saved for?”

We are never merely saved from something. We are also saved for something. Jesus came to save us from our sins, but that isn’t the entire story. Jesus also saved us so that we could be his disciples, have a fresh, new relationship with God and live to serve God and others rather than concentrating on our own wants and desires. We give thanks that Jesus has saved us from our sins, but we also continue our thanksgiving for the life Jesus has saved us for.

Beautiful Savior, thank you for saving us. Help us to be open to all for which that you have saved us. Amen. Saturday, December 20, 2014 “All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken” (Matthew 1:22).

Jeremy wanted to build a tree house for his two children. A massive oak tree dominated the backyard of the family’s home that would be perfect for a tree house. Jeremy headed out early on Saturday morning and purchased some lumber and nails. In less than an hour, Jeremy was sawing wood and pounding nails. He had the love to begin the task and the enthusiasm to carry it out. The one things Jeremy lacked was a plan. By the end of the day, Jeremy had built a structure that was neither pleasing to the eye nor particularly safe.

Matthew wanted to let his readers know that God had a plan and that the birth of Jesus was part of the plan. The events that occurred those months before the first Christmas morning were not like a razzle-dazzle football play. It wasn’t a hastily drawn up “Plan ‘B’”. This was a plan that was reveled hundreds of years previously in the words of the prophets, and devised before the beginning of time.

We worship the creator of the universe. That creation follows specific lawsa plan, if you will. Each and every one of us is a part of that plan. Realizing this our primary question in life should not be, “What do I want to do?” but rather, “What

does God want me to do?” and “How do I fit in to God’s plan?”

Creator God, you have created us for a purpose. Reveal this purpose to us, and empower us to accomplish the tasks you set before us. Amen. Sunday, December 21, 2014 “He did as the angel of the Lord commanded him” (Matthew 1:24).

Obedience is a prized quality in life. Parents long for it in their children. Employers expect it in their employees. The military demands it in its soldiers. Production in the country’s industries would be brought to a standstill if there was no obedience, and battles would not be won if soldiers didn’t obey the orders of their commanders.

Obedience is a prize quality of disciples of Jesus Christ, too. Joseph demonstrated that quality. When we awoke he didn’t question the validity of the dream or whether or not it was the right thing to do. Rather, Joseph simply did what the angel of the Lord commanded him.

Where is the Spirit of the Lord leading us? Undoubtedly it is out of our comfort zone and will tax our skills and challenge us to exceed the expectations that we have for ourselves. Jesus did not allow second thoughts to prevent him from issuing the invitation, “Follow me,” to the first disciples. They dropped everything and obediently followed Jesus. So do we, knowing that Jesus leads us and the Spirit empowers us.

Gracious Lord, walk before us to lead us, behind us to encourage us and beside us to comfort us as we obediently follow you. Amen.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

What does it mean to be called by God?

How have you experienced God calling you?

How do we know if it is really God calling us?

To what has God called you?

What are you willing to give up in order to follow God?

How does God call to a community?

To what is God calling our church?

 

Sunday School/Church-12/18/16

We have decided to cancel Sunday School this week, because of the bitter cold. There will be a few people that live close and will make it to the church for 10:30 service. If you are comfortable, and would like to join them, feel free. We would like to remind everyone to be extra cautious with the cold temperatures, and stay safe. If you cannot make it to the church, we will have a devotion posted in the morning that you can access and share with your family from home.

The weather looks to be improving for next weekend. Please plan to join us for Christmas Eve service on Saturday evening, at 11 p.m. Our Christmas morning service will be at 9 a.m., with no Sunday School.

For those traveling this week, stay safe and enjoy your family! Have a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday Devotion

By Steven Grace

John 14:26-27: 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 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.

Isaiah 41:10: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

Jobs, kids, sports, church, service groups, family time…it seems like things tend to pile up quickly. Despite all the advances in technology that are supposed to make things easier, it seems like we are busier and busier.

I admit, there are times that I begin to feel overwhelmed, wondering how to prioritize my day to get the most accomplished. Just when it seems like I’m at my tipping point, some small voice pipes up in my head, reminding me there is a place to turn to to help reduce my burden.

Matthew 11:28-30 says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

God wants us to turn to Him. He wants us to trust His ways for us, and know that He will provide what we need. It is then that I remember the Jonny Diaz song “Breathe”. Going at a frenetic pace in the early going, it suddenly slows for the chorus:

When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel You say just

(chorus)

Breathe, just breathe

Come and rest at My feet

And be, just be

Chaos calls but all you really need

Is to just breathe

We need to remember to stop, take a breath, and turn our hearts to the Lord. He is there to comfort us and lead us.

Prayer: Lord, give us pause and remind us to breathe. Turn our hearts and minds to you in all things, that you may give us the easy yoke and light burden. In Christ’s name, Amen.

 

Thursday Devotion

The Joy of Grief

By Deborah Schoenfelder

“Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.”  John 16:20

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

Her former father-in-law died. Yes, she had moved on many years before when the divorce occurred, leaving her to forge a life without her first love and husband. She raised her children, and slowly but surely “found herself” and a sense of contentment. Life moved on even further and with it came the happiness of meeting the love of her life, and then the precious gift of grandchildren.

Even with the passage of decades and life events, she was surprised how deeply she was affected by the death of her ex-father-in-law. He was a good man who had treated her with great affection, humor, and love. She remembered when the divorce was final, he made a point of telling her he missed her; so simple and yet such a powerful thing to tell her.

So when she learned of his death, she knew she couldn’t attend his funeral service that might allow her to publicly share her grief with others. Secretly she hoped she would be told she could come, but she knew that probably wouldn’t happen-and it didn’t. So she grieved, mostly by herself, as best she could. It felt strange, isolating, and incomplete, leaving her with a sense of helplessness.

What she wasn’t able to do (attend the funeral and grieve with family and friends) quickly led her to turn from what she couldn’t do to what she could do. She looked up photos of her former father-in-law that she had from her children’s younger years, scanned them and sent them to her children, hoping it would offer them comfort in the loss of their beloved grandfather. She talked to her husband and a longtime friend and confidante, reminiscing about her father-in-law. She also visited the gravesite on her own, offering up her goodbyes in that manner. And while she did all of this, she prayed and searched for scripture to soothe her deep sadness, the best remedy of all. There is endless comfort and healing at the ready in the Bible and in prayer!

If you’ve ever found yourself in a similar situation, you are not alone. Grief, at its best, is almost never simple. Even close knit families disagree about what will be said and sung at a funeral, let alone who will do those honors. And who gets what regarding possessions can get downright contentious at times. Now add the complexity of divorce, estrangements, and countless other

ways that divide human beings; and the time following the death of a loved one can leave you feeling left out and unable to grieve as you would choose.

So where is the joy in all of this? It seems like just taking a day at a time, perhaps even a minute at a time, is a good place to start. Call on trusted others, and especially upon your faith and relationship with God. Prayer doesn’t have to be anything fancy or eloquent, it just needs to be heartfelt. It can be as basic as sitting in silence and as you are moved, asking for help. If you are comfortable using the internet, typing in “Bible verses when grieving” can direct you where to look for scripture to soothe your hurting heart. Efforts like prayer and scripture, combined with the love and support of people who care for you, will hopefully help you move from the strange sadness of “grieving from a distance” to a place of peace and joy. Praise God!

Prayer: Gracious God of comfort and joy, thank you for taking care of us when we are not quite sure where to turn, especially when we feel alone in our grief. Having you in our lives makes it possible to grieve deeply and completely, and then breathe in the joy. You really are amazing in every possible way. AMEN.

Additional selected songs:

Be Still My Soul, Words by Katharina A. von Schlegel, 1752; Music by Jean Sibelius, 1899

Abide With Me, Henry Francis Lyte, 1847

Nearer My God To Thee, Sarah Flower Adams, 1841

Amazing Grace, John Newton, 1779

Precious Lord, Take My Hand; Thomas A. Dorsey, 1932

It is Well With My Soul, Horatio Spafford and Philip Bliss, 1876

I Will Rise; Louie Giglio, Matt Maher, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, 2008

You Never Let Go; Beth Redman, Matt Redman, 2005

Cry Out To Jesus, Third Day, 2005

I Can Only Imagine, MercyMe, 1999