Tag Archives: mourn

A Grandmother and Psalm 90

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Psa 90-12 teach us, type

A Grandmother and Psalm 90

I suspect Dietrich Bonhoeffer loved his grandmother Frau Julie Bonhoeffer intensely. That is the feeling that comes across from the words of his sermon for her funeral. And, yes, he also spoke with great thankfulness about her person, her great faith, and her deep love for three generations of her family. As Bonhoeffer mentioned, his grandmother always made time for her many family. “She was there for each one with her peace and good counsel.” [1]

This gem of a sermon is found in the book Meditating on the Word, a compilation of various writings, letters and sermons all displaying the great love Bonhoeffer had for the Word of God. This sermon is an excellent example of this devotion to the Scriptures, not only on Pastor Bonhoeffer’s part, but on his grandmother’s part, as well.

At ninety-three years of age, Frau Bonhoeffer had many years to love and care for her family. What is more, her grandson actually said that his grandmother “transmitted to us the heritage of another age. With her passing a world passes, and which we all in someway carry within us, and want to keep within us.” [2]

Psalm 90 says to “teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” As Bonhoeffer said, everyone can learn from his grandmother. Everyone can learn from her. “Applying our hearts to wisdom means knowing the limit of our life, but, even more, know that beyond that limit is the God who is from eternity to eternity, into whose hands we fall, whether we choose to or not, in whose hands we.needed to mourn and to get together, ” [3]

Bonhoeffer closes with the injunction of his grandmother to not be sorrowful. This was important to him. One gets the idea that this was important to his grandmother, too. Work each day, trusting in God. Good advice, no matter who, no matter what.

Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.



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[1] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 70.

[2] Ibid, 71.

[3] Ibid.

Listen, Pray, Mourn, Remember

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, July 3, 2016

colorful flower bouquet

Listen, Pray, Mourn, Remember

Today was a Sunday. A day to worship, a day to gather together with other believers. A day to share joys and concerns. Oh, how many joys and concerns we all have.

Many concerns, including a 90-something friend who is recovering from yet another hospital procedure. Just like the Energizer Bunny, keeps on going. God bless this senior! Also a newly-born premature baby, the tiny relative of an older friend. Great amount of concern for this little one, and family! Then, several generations of a family going some distance to a large family reunion. Journey mercies going, and returning, and many blessings while at the reunion. And, my friend in hospice. So sad. God be with that situation, too.

Today was also the day that I provided flowers for the altar at church. Yesterday was the anniversary of my father’s death.

I could not help but remember that my father had been dead exactly twice as long as I had lived. Since he was a statistician by trade, and I remember how much he used to enjoy serendipitous situations like that, I noted it. And, I missed my dad. Mourned him and his premature death. Cancer took him much too soon.

I went to the cemetery to see him and my mother today, as well as the other relatives buried there. Gorgeous day to walk in the cemetery.

Yes, I listened. Certainly, I prayed. Quietly, I mourned. And yes, I remembered.

Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.


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Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Day #37 – Can I Lift Someone’s Load?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, April 1, 2015

God wrap Your arms around all those

Day #37 – Can I Lift Someone’s Load?

Am I getting to that age when I am more likely to hear about an acquaintance, or even a friend, who has recently died? Or, am I in a profession where that is more likely?

How about, both?

A good friend of mine died last week. She was in hospice for a severe illness. The illness had been in remission for several years, and when I saw her last fall, she seemed fit (if thinner) and upbeat. However, I found out recently that the illness had recurred, and I went to the hospice to visit. I hope I was a comfort to those who were there. And then, after the weekend, I found out about her death. God bless those who mourn her passing. She was a wonderful lady, and she will be greatly missed.

The spouse of a good friend of mine died yesterday. This dear one had beaten the odds by being stubborn and—gosh darn it!—remaining alive for about two years longer than the medical staff had predicted! My good friend, dear friend, has been faithfully at the spouse’s side at all times. Serving as patient advocate (very necessary!), spokesperson when needed, and generally keeping track of every little aspect of patient care.

As of yesterday, the hospice called and let my friend and family know that their dear one had died. Quietly.

Yes, I prayed. On a regular basis. Yes, I sent a number of emails over the many months, and even sent several cards by snail mail. Tomorrow, a condolence card will go into the mail. Snail mail. Several states away.

Heavy lifting, indeed.

I am accustomed to being with people in anxious times, even traumatic times. In this holiest of Holy Weeks, I stop and reflect on death. Especially on the death of our Lord Jesus. I find myself becoming quiet. Continuing to reflect. Ponder. Cry. Wish I could be there with my dear friend. And then, knowing that God is there, I think that is enough. It has to be.

God, be with my friend, the bereaved one. Be with all who mourn these dear ones’ passing. Please. Thank You for walking with them in their pain and mourning. Help them to reframe, gently. Gradually. In Jesus’ healing name I pray, amen.


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Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Comfort and Prayer

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, December 28, 2013

Comfort and Prayer

I went to a funeral today. An elderly person close to me died recently. Today was a celebration of long, fruitful life as well as a grieving for someone who has passed beyond our immediate connection. Into God’s gracious hands.

As a chaplain and caregiver, I frequently am put in the position of communication with elderly individuals. I enjoy coming alongside of them, traveling with them for a little while. My heart goes out to these dear people. Each one has a story. Whether big events or little circumstances, whether traveling to far places for years or staying in one place for an entire lifetime—I always can listen to and learn from their personal stories.

This particular, much-loved senior had a full life. I heard many personal anecdotes today. Many remembrances, and a great deal of love and caring was shared from a long and blessed life.

I realize that some are less blessed in their lives, but each one has a continuing story. As I listen to each story, I can rejoice with the teller, or share their concern or pain. I can offer to pray, and bring their story before God—with or without words. That’s my privilege, to journey with individuals, couples, or families. Whether at a care center, a private home, or on the street, it doesn’t matter. God is still here. And I can come alongside people with the ministry of presence.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for the opportunity to come together, in community. Thank You for the blessed, yet difficult, experience of grieving and mourning. I know You are with each of us, every day—whether we realize it or not. Forgive me, God, for forgetting You so often. Lead me—lead us—to a blessed understanding of Your presence by our sides, each day. Thanks for Your care, Your comfort, and Your encouragement. God, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

water and sunset