Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Weekend Reflections #1

This was supposed to be Monday Morning reflections, but somehow the computer ate the original. So here it is Tuesday morning, and here are some reflections from the weekend.

Actually they are thoughts from the past couple of weeks.

In just a couple of weeks' time, I have seen a lot. I conducted two funerals (during Vacation Bible School week) and suffered the tragic loss of my friend Chad and celebrated my grandmother's 99 years - a life well-lived.

It can be hard to think about death; our culture does everything we can to avoid even thinking of it, and when I started in ministry, I wondered, "How can anyone (I was mostly thinking of pastors here) deal with death so often and have it not crush them?"

I asked that question to several pastors, none of whom had any answer. Then I asked Eldon Sheffer, who was one of my colleagues at Stonybrook UMC (and is a funeral director), and his answer is something I've carried with me ever since. He told me that this is a precious time, the time when immortality brushes near our mortal lives. We are closer to heaven than any other time in life when we experience someone's death - as they enter eternity.

Though funerals are sad, they offer hope - and in every funeral service I'm a part of, I will always give the hope of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins - that we all have the opportunity to receive God's grace and take our place with Him, a face-to-face place where there is no suffering, no sorrow, no pain, no tears, no disease, a place where death is defeated, once and for all.

So that's the first part of the weekend reflections.

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