Although the context of the book is America, it nevertheless has much to offer us on this side of the Atlantic. As the subtitle (‘Ministering God’s grace in time of loss’) suggests, it is written primarily for the benefit of ministers, pastors, elders and deacons involved in bringing comfort to those who are sorrowing.
But this is a publication which every church member will find helpful and uplifting, not least in the midst of grieving. As Paul makes clear in 1 Corinthians 12:26, ‘If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.’
The author, a pastor himself and former hospice chaplain, is clearly writing from his own experience in seeking to help and bring comfort to those sorrowing.
The strength of the book lies in the fact that it is thoroughly biblical. Much of the help given comes by way of sermons preached by the author himself at funerals. These are expositions which point us to God as the only source of comfort in times of bereavement and loss. There is no fudging of difficult issues and questions. One of the sermons is on the death of an infant.
The book passes on much pastoral wisdom, including follow-up after the funeral. This is timely, as the severest pain and grief often comes some time after the death of a loved one.
One of the chapters is given over to the place of music, particularly hymns, in bringing comfort to those in distress. A useful outline of a hymn based on Psalm 46 is included. Ministers and pastors will find this useful, especially as more and more people are requesting secular songs at funerals.
This little volume will be of much help to those with pastoral oversight of churches, who, often without warning, find themselves seeking to bring comfort to grieving souls.