Saying Goodbye in the Context of Worship

a writing by Elizabeth Padillo Olesen

Last Saturday I attended the funeral of a dear friend in Denmark. Her sudden death came as a great shock which caused many tears.It was great to say goodbye together with other friends in the church and to have memorial celebration, right after the worship service. The sharing of personal experiences with her and of other special memories of her provided a good atmosphere of a life that was celebrated, a life truly loved and missed. For me, it was a good way to say goodbye to a dear friend.

On the same day and on the same afternoon my elder brother in the Philippines was buried. Unable to attend his funeral in the Philippines, I arranged a memorial worship service the following day. It was for him and for all of those who attended, simply celebrating our common hope in God. It was an hour of songs, prayers, reading of the biblical texts of hope and ending up with a common meal. It was a great two hour celebration. And I am very thankful for a good number of friends who joined even if they do not know my brother.

It is difficult, not to be able to attend the funeral of a loved one because of distance, but a worship service with other friends gives the possibility to deal with the pain involved with the death of a beloved. Worship, as a community, provides the feeling of oneness, of solidarity, of being on the same boat of losing, of dealing with sorrows. Above all, it re-affirms our common hope in God who is the Giver of our life and to whom we shall all return.

Saying goodbye to a dead beloved in the context of worship offers great comfort and hope.

March 5, 2012

My dear friend, Ingrid Kobborg,was buried at Aulum Church on the 3rd of March. My brother, Eleazar Padillo, was buried in Nabunturan, Davao, Philippines on the same day. In the afternoon of March 4,Sunday my family and friends held a Memorial Service for my brother in Denmark.

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