Today was a tough day for my husband. Just before service he received a phone call from one of our members to let him know that her husband past away this morning. She understood that he had the Divine service, but he promised he would visit in the afternoon.
It was very hard for him as he carried on as usual, trying to keep his composure as he led us in Word and Sacrament. After the service and the announcements were made. Our Pastor let his church family know that we had lost a brother in Christ, that our Lord had called him home. Such a shock as we all sat remembering that just last week we had spent time visiting over coffee. In that moment we realized that we do not know the day or hour when our Lord will take us home to be with him and shock that our fellow brother in Christ was no longer here with us.
After the service, when everyone had left the church, Richard took me home to ensure I had something to eat and then we drove out to our sister in Christ's home to spend some time with her. We have a great church family and know that our sister will be receiving many phone calls and visits over the next while and when her family return to their homes her church family will still be there for her.
Obviously she is still in shock but there will be things that only she can decide in the next few days. As I sat by my husband (and Pastor) and listening to him gently consoling and allowing our sister in Christ to share what she wanted for her husbands funeral. The hardest part was listening to her having to decide on what she could afford, cremation is cheaper because there is no coffin to purchase. What a choice to have to make when deep in our hearts we know that burial would be the preferred choice. Without making a promise our Pastor told her he would talk with the congregation and see how and if they can help with the purchase of a coffin.
Recently the congregation had a Bible Study on burial or cremation. I did not participate in the Bible Study as I teach Sunday school during that time. But I understand that the general consensus, of those who were part of that study, felt that no one should have to resort to cremation because of the lack of funds. This also was confirmed by Richard as we chatted on the way home.
The rest of the week will be a difficult one for our Pastor as he keeps in contact with our bereaving sister, writes a sermon for her husbands funeral and talks with the ladies of the congregation regarding the arrangements for a luncheon after the funeral service. And as he talks to the chairman and treasurer to see if we can assist with ensuring our brother is buried and not cremated.
Those who are Pastor's wives know how tired our husbands are after the Sunday morning Bible study and Divine Service, yet they do not think twice of giving up their afternoon nap to visit a distressed parishioner, to share comfort from our Saviour. May our Saviour not only be with our sister in Christ but also with her Pastor as he ministers to her over the coming weeks.