Calvary United Methodist Church | 131 West Second Street | Frederick, MD 21701 Church 301-662-1464 School 301-622-6783

What does it mean to mourn? In a recent article in The Christian Century, Yehiel E. Poupko shares the insight of Maimonides, a Jewish philosopher from the Middle Ages, on what it means to mark the death of another person.  Maimonides argued that every person is created in the image of God and so every death is a diminishment of the human condition. When we join in mourning, we recognize the glorious dignity present in every person on account of their creator.


Mourning starts with those who are immediate relatives of the deceased, then the circle is enlarged to take in the larger family, the neighborhood, and the wider community.  All who join in that mourning are not required to say wise words of consolation, to offer a eulogy, or a give a sermon. They are instead called and obligated to simply be with the others who mourn. “That is the essence of comfort and consolation in the Jewish tradition: to sit with the morning and to say nothing so that the mourner knows that he or she is not alone in standing for the human dignity of their loved one.”  (“An Attack On God’s Image,” The Christian Century, June 15, 2022, 10-11)


That is a lovely and encouraging thought. When the world bears down on us and it seems too much to take, we might look for others who can sit with us so that we know we aren’t alone. When we face the death of a loved one we hold dear, we might look to others to sit with us in silence as a witness to the human dignity of those we have lost. And, you and I can be the ones who regularly volunteer our time to go and sit with others who are in need as a way to offer a reminder that Christ is with us and has promised to never leave us or forsake us.


Grace and peace,


Rev. Steve Larsen