Widows and widowers have been on my mind this week. Our Narrative Lectionary this Sunday will deliver the story of one widow, her encounter with the prophet Elijah, and her experience with divine grace. (Read the story here.) But, as is often the case with such characters, the Bible doesn’t give us anything of the widow’s backstory. We can deduce that she was once married to a spouse who has died. She doesn’t have the means or the resources to survive in a time of drought. She has a son who likely has some underlying health condition. It’s not hard to imagine how tenuous life is for this woman.
As we prepare to mark All Saints Day on November 1, we will take time to remember those whose baptismal journeys have taken them away from us. We should also pause to remember those who have intimately shared a life with these dear saints. Life after the death of a spouse is a different kind of life. The profound sadness and despair of loss holds great power over those who mourn and such a power can be overwhelming.
One of the holy opportunities for a community such as ours, is to offer comfort to the widows and widowers in our midst. To come alongside another in their grief honors the memories of what is lost while also witnessing to the saving power of love and the promise of a future. As God’s children, we know that death is not the end of the story. Elijah, the widow, and her son discover this first-hand. How might we help our widows and widowers discover the same?
Today, take a moment to list the widows, widowers and all who grieve the loss of a loved one that you know. Is there someone on this list that you could reach out to? Send a card or an email, make a call. Check in with them to remind them that they are not alone. If you have the chance, listen deeply to their stories and help remind them that the love they shared with another has not ended. With your help, we will be able to honor all the saints this Sunday and lift up those who loved them so.
Peace be with you this day. -Pastor Peter