At the beginning of May, I called a former Managing Director of the pipeline engineering firm for whom I worked to congratulate him on his 94th birthday. In my early years with the company, I worked for him, and later, with him. The two of us went to Tehran, Iran, on a number of occasions to prepare pipeline engineering or construction supervision proposals in that country. We have stayed in touch all these years, and as usual, our latest discussion came around to certain people who worked for the company. We came to the conclusion that there are not too many of us left.
As North Americans who lived and worked in Europe and the Middle East, we were very dependent on each other. With a number of colleagues, we became good friends at work and also privately with their families. In some cases, our children went to the same international school, and some of us attended the same church. We enjoyed each other's company, and friendship is a great asset. That is indeed what we experienced, especially during our overseas years.
But as we age, our friends pass away — the ones from years ago, as well as the ones we meet later in life. In June, a good friend, a minister of the gospel, with whom we enjoyed a number of biblically themed tours, went to be with His Lord. It really bothered us when we heard about his death. In our involvement at the local long-term care facility, we are confronted with the death of people we know on a regular basis, and about three or four times a year, I lead a memorial service at the home for those who have passed away during the previous three months or so. It is usually attended by some relatives, friends, and residents of the home.
It varies from time to time, but I usually base the meditation on one of the following Scripture passages:
Matthew 11:28 – Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (NLT)
Psalm 121:1-2 – I will lift my eyes to the hills — From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. (NKJV)
Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (NKJV)
During the service, I always mention that each one of us will have our own memories of the people whom we are remembering. The truth is that we then have to draw on those memories. But they are ours for as long as we live. Their worth can not be measured in dollars and cents; they will not depreciate in value, and nobody can take them away from us.
If you are mourning, if you have lost a loved one, draw on those memories, and be assured: The Lord will comfort you.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we thank You for friends and relatives who have passed away, and we remember the good times that we had with them. We thank You that even when we carry the heavy load of loss, You will comfort us. We offer this prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "More Love To Thee" (Lyrics)