On Tuesday I attended (on line) the funeral of the mother of one of my old University friends, who had died of heart problems. She was a popular lady and, in any normal time, the crematorium would have been packed with people. As it was, only her son, daughter in law and one of her grandsons, who lives with his parents, were able to attend. The service was taken by her daughter in law who is a Vicar. Other than that, the chapel was empty. Everyone else had to watch from afar from their living rooms.

One might have expected it all to be very depressing, but actually it wasn’t. The love of Christ seemed to shine through throughout the ceremony and the network of family and friends were there in spirit. They were physically a long way apart, but together in sympathy with one another.

Thank goodness for modern technology, that can bring people together even at a time like this.

Many people are very fed up at present, worrying about jobs, finances, their future and many other things.  And, believe you me, as one who lives alone, but who likes to be out and about a lot, I am beginning to find the solitary life pretty limiting. I can now feel real empathy for those who live alone and are usually housebound. It isn’t much fun.

Despite all this, we just need to remember that God is always with us. We will get through all this eventually, but we need to trust in him. Even in the darkest hours, when everything seems hopeless, God is there to comfort and console us. And God understands; he knows about suffering and misery.

Hopefully it will not be too long before we can worship together again. But until we do, may God hold you in the Palm of his Hand.

Richard Austen