Luke 8:11 – Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (KJV)
We've made a lot of friends and acquaintances over the years. With that comes having to attend the funerals or "celebrations of life" of many friends, and of acquaintances who are well-enough known to attend theirs as well. Added to those, volunteering with terminally-ill people often gave me the honour of helping them plan and attend their final farewells.
Services I've attended involved as many as five hundred family members and friends, and as few as five family members and me.
The size of the service doesn't determine the message that is given, and often, as recently experienced — where there were 18 family members, my friend, and me — the service was small, but the message delivered was huge.
I am always in awe of family members who, in the midst of their deep grief, are able to stand up and deliver wonderful words in memory of their departed loved ones. In this recent service, a granddaughter was speaking.
In imparting her thoughts, she began by saying she'd had a hard time writing down her thoughts on the fact that her grandma was gone, yet then it came to her. She said, "We're not here because she's gone; we're here because she was here." Being aware of this made her thoughts flow much more freely.
"How beautiful," I thought, and I realized that that is exactly the way we need always to remember Christ's life. Yes, because He died for our sakes and rose again, we have the opportunity to accept everlasting life. And so it is, that though we Christians acknowledge and mourn His dreadful death, it is not the fact that He is not here in the flesh upon which we place our focus, but the fact that He was here, and that He arose from the dead to offer each of us salvation.
Prayer: Dear Lord, as we remember Your life and the empty cross signifying Your risen Spirit, may we, amidst our grief for others, remember with joy their lives, and the fact that they were here. Lessen our sadness with memories of how much they meant to us and enriched our lives. Gladden our hearts that we were blessed to be among those known to them. In Your name we pray, and give thanks for this day. Amen.