Living with Death and Bereavement

Sermon: November 9th 2008
Text: 1 Corinthians 15145721

John 11 v.1-6,17-29,32-44

Guest Speaker:
Margaret Marsh
St. Giles Church 6pm
Recommended book:
by Joyce Rupp
Opening question:

What challenges you about your own mortality?

(Fear, anger, panic, leaving behind what’s undone etc)

Allow people to explore this, hold the silence and be sensitive to what people share, there is no judgement on what they say, thank them for sharing


Some questions that you might like to use in conjunction with the text are:

  • In our own experience of bereavement have we been

          a stepping stone or stumbling block to those around us?

  • Different stages of grieving can relate to different stages of faith, time has no meaning (denial, desert, acceptance etc)
          Where are you at the moment?
  • Wounded healer? If our own scars are bleeding we won’t be able to help people pick up life again, death may connect us with a previous loss, how will you cope with this?
  • Lazarus—Jesus calls him out of death, unbound him and helped him recover. God is our redeemer in death and in our situation. What’s your situation right now?
  • Soceity and culture will have an effect on how we do our grieving, what’s the context?
  • When you reflect on Jesus’s life and death, what is the most helful aspect for you as you face your own goodbyes?
  • What image has spoken most to you about your own losses?
  • Keep leaning on God, even though he may seem far away

It may be helpful to ask people in the group where they have felt most challenged?

Q. What was the most important thing for them?


How will effect you as a Christian and how will you put what you have discovered into action?

Q. What action will you now take?


Has it stirred up feelings and emotions within you?

Q. How are you feeling?


Be sensitive to what people share at this point, encourage people in the group to listen and to not give advice, jump in with their own story or say that they know how they feel, allow space


End the time with prayer: Maybe light a candle, play some quiet music, open you hands up with palms turned upwards, whatever you feel works for your group. You might like to use these prayers as a way of praying all together, especially if it has been a time of great personal sharing

Father, in whom I trust, part of me is dying and part of me is coming to life, let me draw close to you, here in this moment I respond to you

(allow time for open prayer and response)


Help me to open up to all you want to give me through your Holy Spirit

(allow time for open prayer and response)


Renew me day by day

(allow time for open prayer and response)


Encourage me to be faithful to your call within my heart

(allow time for open prayer and response)


Father, I choose to trust you, though at times it is such a mystery to me

(allow time for open prayer and response)


Remind me of your peace and your mercy and your love

(allow time for open prayer and response)


Close by saying some bible passages, maybe get a member of the group to read each one and respond by meditating on it and praying

John 14 v.27
Psalm 28 v.7
Psalm 52 v.8
Phil 4 v.13
Isaiah 40 v.31
You may find others which you would prefer?

Sharon Seal, 15/10/2008