When Martha and Mary's brother died, many of their friends came to comfort them. I wonder if any of them were anxious about this visit. Did they struggle with the same questions that many of us have: "What should I bring?" "What should I say?" "How long should I stay?" Were any of their friends simply too anxious to show up?
It's difficult to know how to comfort a grieving friend. Advice from bereavement ministers include being present, using words such as "I'm sorry" or "I care," and simply listening. They recognize that we're not there to spread cheer but to help our friend get in touch with her feelings, her doubts, and her faith.
Perhaps when we serve as quiet representatives of God, those who grieve will come to believe the words that Jesus spoke to Martha, "Your brother will rise." Your sister, your father, your mother will rise.