If you want to see God you have only to look at Jesus. Standing at the graveside of his friend, Jesus wept. He understands what it is to experience the pain of loss. But in the words of Bruce Springsteen, love is a power greater than death. I'd like to pray using some of the words and ideas from the 23rd psalm that we've just heard.
To the Good Shepherd, you who promise to be close to the broken-hearted, I pray for the family here today for whom an irreplaceable person has gone.
God of love, who knows what it is to grieve, grant peace in the midst of pain and comfort in a time of need.
For Pop, when the emptiness becomes too hard to bear, I pray that you surround him with those who will support and encourage him, who will love him and hold him tight.
For Mike, Lynne and Angie, who've borne a heavy burden over the last months, I pray that the Good Shepherd will lead you to still waters, to green pastures, where you can find space to mourn and to heal, to remember your mother as she used to be before she became so ill.
For Becca, Dan, Ellie, Jo, Simon, Anna, Rob and Neil, I pray that, as you remember grandma, you find comfort in the knowledge that you meant everything to her. You and your children were her world.
For the extended family, for all of us who had the privilege of knowing Ivy, I pray that we will find inspiration in her memory.
Father God, I pray that your tender love will be a balm for spirits that are hurting so much now, that your compassion will bring about restoration of our souls.
And in the name of the Father who created us, and of his resurrected son, Jesus Christ who saves us, and of the Holy Spirit, who is with us and comforts us - may the peace of the living God be upon us - each one. Amen.