A neighbor of our dear member Cheri, here in Hanford, lost her mother last week. I was privileged to serve her by ministering at the commitment service and preach the Gospel at it, in Coalinga, about 55 minutes west and south of us.There was a joyful part of this, as most of those there at least professed faith in Christ. What was NOT joyful was that the sadness of the occasion was broken by an even worse effect of the pandemic here in California.
Now, understand that many cemeteries in rural areas are flat--no tombstone but simple Plaques on which are engraved the name of the deceased that has been buried, perhaps with a spouse previously deceased, and of course the dates of birth and death. That was the case in this cemetery.
Her name was Joyce. She died of natural causes, not Covid. She was deeply loved and appreciated, and apparently a Christian. Praise God!
But here was the heartbreaking part: There was a canopy, a large canopy, with chairs separated from one another by about 4-6 feet in each direction. Everyone had to wear masks. no one was supposed to hug or touch (no one obeyed that foolish instruction and no one cared) and the service, in spite of nothing planned for the next service for at least another hour far as I could tell, the service was LIMITED to 30 minutes. We got around that by starting 10-15 minutes early and the funeral director did not say anything. But that whole complex was empty of all but the family and me. One grand daughter beautifully sang her grandma's favorite song, without accompaniment, "Somewhere over the Rainbow.
The whole scene was stark and empty. No one else there but the funeral homes staff (who were wonderful.
I looked around at the scene and the deserted "park" and saw in it an emblem of our times--isolation and emptiness and sadness and fear. This, I thought, is what we have become in this part of the country--isolated and lonely and sad. My heart broke for this family, which could not have been kinder in their appreciation. O may our good and gracious God please bring this time of isolation and desolation to a joyful end by raising up a multitude of new Christians in our midst, and, be pleased to forgive our sins and restore our land.