5th May 2021

My dear friend Barbara died 8 years ago tomorrow. She was only 65, too young to die, it was unthinkable. Before she became ill with stomach cancer, her life exuded love, goodness, and positive energy which encompassed her family, her friends, her church and her voluntary work. Her passing left a vacuum in so many lives. We were bereft.

This is an experience that effects all of us as human beings, but this last year has seen an extraordinary number of deaths due to the pandemic. So many are reeling from the shock of unexpected deaths, and are dealing with the sadness, the sorrow and the agonising pain that comes with the gut wrenching realisation that the dearly loved physical presence will never again be there.

I loved Barbara and I know she loved me. Thinking on our friendship now, on the anniversary of her death, has made me contemplate how the disciples felt when Jesus left them and finally disappeared from their sight. Jesus had prepared them for this, but when the inevitable happened they surely knew  grief. Luke writes, that they went back to the upper room in Jerusalem, eleven men, his brothers, Mary his mother and a group of women, as Jesus had told them. So those who would miss him the most supported each other in friendship and in prayer while they waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Then they turned their attention to the practical task given to them by Jesus, a task that points the way to the whole mission of the church, the making known of God’s saving love and healing to the whole world.

Elizabeth Webb