Sometimes we shed tears of joy, other times tears of sadness. Especially during this season of Lent leading up to Easter, we feel the sadness of the events leading to Jesus’ death, but when Easter arrives, we rejoice in his resurrection. Children express joy when they find a hidden Easter egg, or open their Easter baskets full of jelly beans and chocolate bunnies. Their parents enjoy the gathering of friends and family to celebrate this holiday.
At the same time, there are people in our congregation who find little to rejoice over at this time of year. This may be especially true for those with a friend or a family member whose health is failing or has recently died. They may try to hide their tears of sadness, but at the same time the person who is grieving needs to know that others do care and they are not alone.
Stephen Ministers receive training in relating to those who are suffering. In our Stephen Ministry continuing education, we have read a series of books by Stephen Hauck on Journeying Through Grief. In his book, Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart, Hauck cites Biblical verses about suffering and pain, and the need for compassion and comfort, rather than telling someone, “You’ll get over it.”
During the Lenten season at FUMC, a Stephen Minister is standing at the front of the sanctuary after each worship service, ready to listen to concerns, answer questions, and pray with anyone who may be grieving or experiencing other needs. Also, Stephen Ministers are staffing the library table in the Commons the third Sunday of each month, and can point out useful books available in our library.