We came off quite a week last week. Thursday we had a congregational meeting, Friday was a funeral, Saturday a funeral, and I was supposed to tag-team preach on Sunday and have a picnic with the youth group afterward, but I got sick on Saturday night and missed church on Sunday morning.
The funeral on Friday was for a former pastor in Canada, Tom Wilkinson. As a former pastor, there was quite a lot of involvement in the memorial service. The superintendent of the Canada Conference of the Covenant Church flew out for the service. I got to read scripture. It really was a nice service. Tom had been in the hospital for a while and had been thinking about what he wanted for his memorial service. He had even written the message. It was a wonderful reflection on his life shaped around Psalm 23. The family didn't really have to do much planning--everything was pretty much in order as to what Tom had wanted. (Side note: do your families well--have it thought through and planned out for them)
After the second memorial service someone had brought up how different Christian funerals were from ones for unbelievers. Most of us hadn't been to a funeral for an unbeliever. I had actually been thinking about how terrible death must be for someone who has no hope. Or the support of the Body to get them through.
On the shelf where death's book sits, the focal point is really on the bookends--life on both sides. The here and the hereafter. Maybe a better image is a suspension bridge between two lush plateaus--one of which is unimaginable as to the beauty of what awaits us there.
And so, life goes on for us.
Embrace life as it comes now and enjoy it, but put your hope in what is to come. Don't compromise your identity as a citizen of Heaven for the lures of worldly living. But be sure to enjoy the ride along the way.