Showing posts with label comfort. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comfort. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Standing with Those Who Suffer & Mourn in Orlando

The congregation of Lansdowne Baptist Church stands with and prays for the victims, their families, and friends in the LGBT community in the wake of Sunday's horrid attack in Orlando, Florida. May God provide each and every one of you with strength, comfort, and healing. Human as we are, we have trouble speaking clearly through our grief, our outrage at this terrible injustice and atrocity, and our sorrow. So, in troubled times, Jesus' Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11) offer a powerful message for us when we cannot speak clearly ourselves:
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Let me leave you with a hymn for anguished spirits: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2014/03/be-still-my-soul.html

Please read the statements from the American Baptist Home Mission Societies as well: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2016/06/two-powerful-statements-from-american.html

Friday, January 15, 2016

I Will Be With You





Sermon based on Isaiah 43:1-7, in which the prophet assures the people
of Israel that, despite their exile among the fearsome Babylonians, God
remains with them and will lead them forward. The same applies to the
church today. God is calling us forward into new fields of ministry. To
survive, we must move forward, following God's call, assured that God
loves us and goes with us.

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Blessing for Your Day

Go forth in peace, but not in complacency; be strong, but not arrogant; have conviction, but be understanding of the beliefs of others; be eager to love, but not meddlesome; be proud enough not to have contempt for yourselves, but sufficiently humble not to be jealous of your neighbors. Go forth in peace. 

From A Manual of Worship. John E. Skoglund & Nancy E. Hall

Monday, June 29, 2015

Go In Peace



Based on Mark 5:21-43 in which Jesus responds well to a day of interruptions ... and what we can take from that. Hint: it has a lot to do with faith and love.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Inspiration for the Journey


Recently, there have been those to whom we bid a fond but reluctant farewell. In my readings, I discovered this passage by Kristine Malins found in the Medical Missionary Magazine. She sums the feelings we have brilliantly. 
Our is the pain of constantly pitching our tent and folding it up again, of befriending strangers and bidding them goodbye, of loving the world but never truly being satisfied with it, of pouring our heart and soul into a project others have begun and still others will finish. If we would not be torn in two by the tensions of this truth, we must learn to live provisionally--to measure the road well. We need to make the most of the occasions when we gather by the roadside to break bread together and compare directions. Joy must be discovered in the going as we never really arrive, not even in a lifetime.
Wishing you many happy occasions to gather along the roadside, break bread, and compare directions and much joy in the going. 

God bless you all.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Prayerfully Standing with Our Mourning Brothers and Sisters in South Carolina

"You, O God, have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting, you are God." Psalm 90:1-2

We stand in sympathy and pray for our mourning brothers and sisters in Charleston, South Carolina, who lost loved ones and peace during the murder of nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church at the hands of a gunman during their evening prayer meeting. We have no words for this horror and depend on the Holy Spirit to convey our grief. We call on God to bring comfort and strength to all who lost loved ones and must go on.

May this young gunman, twisted and maddened by hate, be caught before he can kill again.

May Isaiah 41:10 give all who mourn strength: "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious hands."

May we take hope for the fallen from John 11:25-26: "Jesus said, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die."

Finally, may we look to the promise of Revelation 21:3-4, "The home of God is among mortals. God will dwell with them and they will be God's peoples. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away."

Again, we of Lansdowne Baptist Church stand with you in this terrible time and pray for you.

For prayers from the Minister's Council of American Baptist Churches, USA, see: http://www.abc-usa.org/2015/06/18/the-ministers-council-abcusa-offers-hopes-and-prayers-following-emanuel-ame-church-killings/

For a sermon dealing with these awful events and challenging us to decide what kind of world we will live in together, see: http://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2015/06/why-are-you-afraid.html

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Prayers and Thanks Following the Fire of June 11, 2015

Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

On Thursday, June 11, rescuers from the local fire departments of several towns, police officers, and members of the Red Cross converged on the fire at the Stratford Court apartments in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, around 7 p.m. When the pastors of the Baptist and Presbyterian churches arrived on the scene, everything was under control. The fire was out, the area was secured, and the residents of the apartment complex had been removed to shelter for the night. It was all handled in a professional manner and everyone this pastor encountered was courteous and professional. 

In the days that followed, the Red Cross made sure all of the residents of the apartment complex, working in cooperation with the apartment complex managers, had a safe place to shelter in the weeks to come while the apartment complex is being restored. 

God bless the dedicated men and women who worked so hard to contain the fire and provide shelter for the residents. Thanks to all of them for their air of calm professionalism, which helped keep everyone safe. 

We pray for all those displaced residents. May you all have peace in the midst of what was a dangerous situation. May God restore calm to your lives. We stand by you in this difficult time. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wind Fire and Spirit





For Pentecost Sunday, we explore how the Holy Spirit can make a mess of our tidy, neatly ordered worlds. That unfettered Spirit of God can also empower us to do far more than we ever thought possible. Based on Acts 2:1-21.



We're experimenting here with showing the PowerPoint presentation while the sermon plays. Maybe this will work. We'll see.



Have a blessed and Spirit filled day.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

New Beginnings





Genesis 1: In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

It is amazing the theological depths contained within these five verses and those that follow in Genesis 1-2:4. The sermon begins with a reminder of what is possible when faithful people work together to support those in need in our community. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

How to Help During a Code Blue Alert in Philadelphia

When the weather outside is truly frightful (twenty degrees or below with combined temperature, wind chill, and precipitation), the city of Philadelphia initiates a Code Blue Alert. The homeless are encouraged to leave the streets on nights when such weather conditions occur. Emergency shelters are obtained (some within police stations), hours are extended, and every effort is made to see the homeless have a warm, safe place to weather the storm. 

For more on the Code Blue system, see: http://www.phila.gov/codeBlue.html

If you see someone you believe needs help, you can call the Project HOME hotline number: 215-232-1984

For more on Project HOME, see: https://projecthome.org/


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thanksgiving Help for Those in Need

The holidays are difficult times for those in need. Here are a few of the organizations in Philadelphia helping to make a difference for Thanksgiving day, 2014.

Check them out and see how you can help ... or be helped. If you are struggling this year, our prayers are with you. With God, you are also never alone.

Here are those organizations links for you to check out:

http://www.mannapa.org/manna-blog/
http://www.uac.org/thanksgiving-basket-program
http://www.mowaa.org/
http://unitedforimpact.org/uploads/ways-to-engage/documents/Holiday-Network-Opportunities.pdf
http://www.philabundance.org/?gclid=CPPp4omx-ooCFQqgYgodxmiPqA

Places you can help:

http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/index.jsp?r=msa&categories=39&l=Philadelphia%2C+PA%2C+USA

Organizations that help out all year 'round:

http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/cgi-bin/id/city.cgi?city=Philadelphia&state=PA

Working with one of these organizations to help alleviate hunger may well be a better use of our time than heading to stores on Thanksgiving day.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.
~ 1 Chronicles 16:34


Friday, November 21, 2014

Wishing You Joy


With the holidays rapidly approaching, we here at Lansdowne Baptist Church wish you joy. As Henri Nouwen wrote in his devotional book, Bread for the Journey

Strange as it may seem, we choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event, but one may choose to live it quite differently from the other. One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despair and be destroyed by it. What makes us human is precisely this freedom of choice.
Choose joy.  

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13
 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Remembering Our Veterans and Their Families


Lansdowne Baptist Church is privileged to have a number of veterans and their families worship with us. We remember the sacrifices they have made in their service and in support of their service men and women. We pray for all those who have served and their families, for those who have gone on before us, and those who are with us today. We recognize their struggles and pray for their resolution. 

We offer up Psalm 33:20-22 in their honor: 

Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and shield. 
Our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, 
even as we hope in you. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Interfaith Food Cupboard of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, Needs Help

This information arrived on October 30, 2014, concerning the needs addressed just for the month of October: 


  • We provided emergency food for: 180 adults
  •                                                  162 children
  •                              for a total of: 342 people
  • We gave each a nine meal supply of food (three days), so we provided 3078 meals!!
Now here is the local need in the William Penn school district served by the Interfaith Food Cupboard: 
  • You can see that our number of requests have DOUBLED, while the food and money donations have dwindled   
  • WE NEED lots more food—so if you can help, we would be grateful!!
Here is a description of their efforts and their contact information: 

  • We service families in the William Penn School District (Aldan, Darby Borough, Colwyn, East Lansdowne, Lansdowne and Yeadon). We are here to help with emergency food needs! Call us at 610-622-0800, option 4 for more information. We are located at the First Presbyterian Church in Lansdowne, PA and are open on Monday and Wednesdays from 4:00-6:00p.m. This is not a walk in service so please call ahead to register as a client. Please bring proof of residency to register. You will need to provide your own transportation. Unfortunately, we cannot deliver to you.
You may also check their Facebook page for additional information: https://www.facebook.com/interfaithfoodcupboard/info

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Encouragement for Workers Everywhere

"Why We Work"

The same God who knit us together in our mother's womb, who formed our emotions and character and innate worth, who orchestrated our lives up until this point--that God placed us where we are today. In our jobs, in our families, in this place.* 

There are some moments when the light of that purpose burns clear and bright but others when we can barely discern it through the fog. Regardless, we must work "as working for the Lord." Serving a heavenly Christ, even through our earthly tasks. 

~Joshua DuBois

*While this is generally true, if you should find yourself in an evil place among those who would harm you, that is not God's doing. God is never the author of evil and you should strive for freedom from that harm.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Suicide Prevention

Following the awful news of comedian and actor Robin Williams's suicide, there were some truly wonderful remembrances. There was some horrid disinformation and a profound ignorance on the nature of suicide and its victims on display. Awful judgments were passed that were painful to not only Mr. Williams’ family and friends, but to everyone who has ever lost a loved one or friend to suicide. Here is some information you can use instead.

If you are contemplating suicide yourself, please stop. You are a much loved child of God and this is not the solution you are looking for. Seek help. Reach out to others and allow them to help you. Here is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). As they state on the Lifeline website: “You aren’t alone. No matter who you are or what problems you are struggling with, hurting yourself isn’t the answer. We want to help you find hope.”

All of us Christians are called to follow Jesus. Jesus came for everyone, had compassion for all, and healed the sick, including those suffering from mental illness. Here are signs someone is considering suicide.

  1. Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself.
  2. Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a weapon.
  3. Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  4. Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  5. Talking about being a burden to others.
  6. Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  7. Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  8. Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  9. Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  10. Displaying extreme mood swings.
Not everyone caught up in these crises of the mind are able to seek help for themselves. We, as members of the priesthood of all believers, need to be willing to step up and get someone help if the signs are strong. We need to risk looking foolish with stakes this high.

Wishing you all God's peace.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Joy Is Happiness in God


In his wonderful book, which I recommend to you, author James Martin has the following to say about joy, referencing the work of Donald Saliers. I hope you find it inspirational:

Joy is a fundamental disposition toward God. What characterizes Christian joy in contrast to happiness ... lies in its ability to exist even in the midst of suffering, because joy has less to do with emotion and more to do with belief. It does not ignore pain in the world, in another's life, or in one's own life. Rather, it goes deeper, seeing confidence in God--and for Christians, in Jesus Christ--as the reason for joy and a constant source of joy.

 Unlike ephemeral happiness, you can cling to joy even in the rough times. Joy is happiness in God and you can carry that with you always.

I hope you find joy today.

For another post on joy, see: http://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2014/06/sharing-joy-found-in-our-faith.html

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bible Verses to Live By

For Christians, the Bible is our foundation, the library of books through which God tells us of God's love for us. That love is best expressed through Jesus Christ. We learn about Jesus and what Jesus had to say about God, God's love for humanity, and God's plan for us all best through the books of the Bible. There are great truths to be found among the 66 books of both the Old and New Testament--for the careful reader. There are times in life when certain passages will speak to faithful readers as they never have before and will provide valuable guidance. 

Here are some verses you might find useful: 

Jesus tells us about those who are blessed by God's standards rather than our own: 


Matthew 5:1-12: When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Jesus also reminds us who we should love: 


Matthew 5:43-48: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Jesus states who we should forgive ... and why. Please note here that Jesus used humor to make points for his hearers ... something we worked hard to forget for hundreds of years and are now coming, fortunately, to rediscover and with hope lighten up a bit ourselves.: 

Matthew 7:1-5: Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.  Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye.
Jesus has some sage advice about great wealth: 


Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Jesus also has some very useful advice on worry ... which we all struggle to follow with varying degrees of success to be completely honest: 

Matthew 6:25-34: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today."
Here is a story of deep faith, in which a Centurion, a soldier of the occupying Roman army, meets Jesus and surprises him with his deep and abiding faith: 


Matthew 8:5-13: When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour.
Jesus tells us our greatest of all the commandments are based on love ... and in the parable of the Good Samaritan we learn that our neighbor can be anyone, even an enemy:  
Matthew 22:34-40: When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
And finally, for now, from the beautiful language of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, we are called to work for justice, that we may be the restorers of the streets where we live: 

Isaiah 58:6-12: Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in. 
All of these verses may be applied directly to life in the modern world. Working for justice, having strong faith, freedom from fear and judgment of others, freedom from greed, knowing who we should love, forgive, and accept forgiveness from, and knowing who is blessed by God's standards, all of these things are ours in these few verses. There is a lot more to be had in those 66 books of the Bible, a great deal of which will provide the reader with joy. 

God bless you as you adventure among the Scriptures.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Assistance You Can Provide for Families in Need in Southwest Philadelphia Following Fire

The households displaced by the ravaging fire in Southwest Philadelphia that destroyed ten homes are in need of help. If you wish to assist, at this time, they have all the clothes needed. However, items needed include non-perishable foods, toiletries, and bedding. These may be sent to:

Christ International Baptist Church
2210 South 65th Street
Philadelphia, PA  19142
215-729-0214

Monetary donations may be made to the:
Liberian Association of Pennsylvania
1155 South 54th Street
Philadelphia, PA  19143
215-651-9322

or to the Red Cross
Shira Beckerman
215-299-4038

or to the Saving Grace Orphanage
4918 Baltimore Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19143
215-779-5726

Thanks to the Philadelphia Baptist Association for updating us on the needs of these struggling individuals and families.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Helping Those Who Grieve For Lost Loved Ones

Over the years, under a pen name, I have written a number of posts on faith issues, including how to help those who are suffering through grief. I will, from time to time, add a few of those posts, appropriately edited, to the Lansdowne Baptist Church blog site. Here are some suggestions on how to help those who grieve, both adults and children. 

First, on assisting adults: here are some things to know (care of the Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling) about grief and what you can do to help others.

We've all heard grief has stages. They are, in the modern understanding:

  • Numbness and denial: involved in the first five to seven days; 
  • Yearning intensely and painfully for the one (or ones) who has died, which includes preoccupation with that individual, searching, illusions of seeing that person, dreams, fantasies, hallucinations, self-reproach, identification with the behaviors, activities and illness of the dead, and suicidal feelings and thoughts. This lasts for weeks;
  • Disorganization and despair where other emotions dim, apathy and aimlessness set in, and an inability to see a positive future rises like a malign fog. This can last for over a year.
  • Reorganization is the final, sought for stage, in which the grieving person shifts their energies from the dead and begins to see a hopeful future without that person in it. After thirteen months most had not yet reached this stage. 
These are stages each grieving person must go through to heal and our job as friends and loved ones for the grieving is to understand and stand by that person. Assure the grieving that they are not losing their minds and that they will come through the process. It is natural. God intends for us to help those who grieve find their way through this natural process of grief using our love and understanding. 

Here are a few concrete steps you can take to assist the grieving: 
  1. Understand the process and make yourself familiar with the stages.
  2. Visit the grieving often as love is shown by your presence. 
  3. Help the grieving person to express himself or herself by asking about what has taken place and by responding with empathy (don't try to fix the situation, remember Job's friends who got it right by being their for 7 days, but then messed up by trying to fix Job's grief with their recommendations).
  4. Prior to funerals, a pastor will help families talk about the person lost, triggering their memories and allowing the minister to gain information about both the departed and the bereaved. You can help your grieving friends or loved ones by encouraging discussion and remembrance of their lost loved one. 
  5. What is extremely hard today is to allow a person sufficient time to grieve. 
  6. Each grieving family member needs to be helped with equal care and love. 
That's a start. This will help you not to feel helpless and to act as a guiding beacon for those who grieve. Do not worry about what you will say. In the midst of grief, the person in pain will not remember what you said, only that you were there and he/she will love you for it. Be present, be loving, offer a listening ear, offer hope that the person is sane and will in time come through this long, painful process, emphasizing that they will do so in their own time. 

Moving on to assisting younger people: children have heard a lot more about death than we'd like to think. Pictures and stories of death are found on television shows, radio programs, and in newspapers daily. We can be careful, but we can't entirely stop a child from overhearing at least some of these dire stories. Then a pet dies, or distant relation, or a political or religious leader ... and children hear about it some more. 

Returning to the Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling (pp. 475-476), there are three stages of understanding children have about death. In short: from 3 to 5 children are likely to deny death's permanence. They consider death like sleep and since they die and rise every night and morning, why shouldn't everybody else? From 5 to 9, children accept the concept someone has died but don't understand this is a universal event that everyone experiences personally eventually. Finally, at age 9 or 10, like Adam and Eve, children discover they too are mortal.

Here's what the DPCC recommends clergy do, and I recommend it for parents as well: 

1. Do not avoid the topic of personal death (denial never helps).
2. Do not discourage emotions of grief.
3. Do not tell a child a euphemism, half-truth, etc. Honesty, though painful, is best. 
4. Do share your religious convictions as to faith, God, immortality, prayer, and death. 
5. Surround the grieving with supportive people who will model God's love and presence for them.
6. Remember that the process of adjustment to the loss takes far longer than the funeral to occur. 
7. Be human: express your own emotions of grief. Don't be afraid to shed a tear when dealing with a child in pain. 

God bless you as you seek to help your suffering family, friends, or those you have just met.

For a related article on anxiety, see: http://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2014/06/coping-with-anxiety-through-faith.html