After the Funeral

The tears are shed
and the words are spoken
and the body, blessed,
is laid under six feet of cold ground.
We walk away reeling, at least inside,
holding each other together
all the way to the church auditorium
where we collapse
in front of tables filled with food.
I remember raisin bread, cheese, pickles.
Or was it ham sandwiches and squares?
No matter.
We have buried someone. 
We have to eat.
We have to eat together.

We might only nibble,
but we hold the bread for dear life,
we clutch the cups.
We turn to each other,
we laugh, we cry some more,
we listen to stories.
And just as the valley of the chasm of loss
wants to swallow us up,
this sweet and savoury meal
improbably sustains us,
pulling us from the darkness of grief,
like a resurrection from the dead.

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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