The Resurrection and the Life
Most people are afraid of death and dying. Even though we are all touched by death before we ever go through it ourselves, sometimes we may feel unprepared to really deal with it.
It is a hard thing when you lose a loved one. Even when it is a long time coming, it is still difficult when you care about that person. My maternal grandmother passed away 15 years ago in April. She was 90 years old and lived a good life. She had been deteriorating mentally in the years preceding her death and at the end of her life, she mostly slept. Mostly, I remember her as a vivacious woman who always had an offer of something good to eat that she had made with her own hands when I came to visit.
The rest of the family asked me to conduct her funeral service. Even though she had a regular pastor, I was the one that was tabbed to officiate. This happens sometimes in families and while it is hard, I also feel honored to speak to her life because I know her intimately as a grandchild. I still love my grandma and I’m glad it was me covering her service. I didn’t break down (much) during the funeral and I hope I honored her life and her faith. Since that time, I have only done one other funeral for a family member and feel fortunate that there haven’t been more.
We are never really prepared for death. Those who lose family members that are much younger are of course hit much harder. We feel cheated of years that we expected but are now gone. We ask God, “Why didn’t you heal my son?” or “Why did my sister have to die?”
Life is a gift to be cherished. We have no guarantees on its length. We have no contract saying that it will be free from pain or even relatively fair. We wonder how God can allow tragic things to happen. Sometimes the thought of death either for ourselves or our loved ones can strike fear into our hearts.
This Sunday, we will continue with the gospel lectionary readings as we look at Jesus and the raising of Lazarus in John 11:1-45. I hope you’ll join us as we take an honest look at our own mortality and what promises we have in Jesus Christ. While grief is never taken out of the equation, I hope that fear can be.