The Family of God… and death
devotional thought of the day:
27 At this Peter exclaimed, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What is that going to be worth to us?” 28 “Believe me,” said Jesus, “when I tell you that in the next world, when the Son of Man shall sit down on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones and become judges of the twelve tribes of Israel. Every man who has left houses or brothers or sisters or fathers or mother or children or land for my sake will receive it all back many times over, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first now will be last then – and the last first! Matthew 19:27-28 (Phillips NT)
In the last few days, I have been thinking about death a bit. No, not because of the movie and television star who died, but because of someone important in my life. Someone I barely knew, yet revealed to me again a truth about family, especially the family of God.
As we stood at her graveside this morning, as her children dropped beautiful red roses flowers onto the urn’s vault, someone suggested that I do, as one of the family, drop a flower into the vault as well. I flashed back to the service at church, a few days before, and a story where another of her “children” was told, “you maybe one of my daughters, but I am sure I didn’t give birth to you!”
As I stood there, a rose in my hand, the verse above came into my head. This Lady whose ashes were being lade to rest – could very well be an elder sister, if not a mother in the faith. Her husband was surely one of the great father-figures in my faith. And her six children, they truly are like my brothers and sisters, even though we grew up on different continents, Even though they and their children live all over the world today, even though there is little at first glance that we would have in common, they welcomed me as their brother. Though I have spent less than 24 hours with some of them, I yearned to bring them comfort as a sibling would in those moments, and felt the impact of their mom’s temporary loss in those moments.
There are two things that can bind people together, (there are more – but these two are the most powerful) The first is traumatic, the fact that those we love, and we ourselves will die. It can cause us great despair, despair that is more than individual, yet more deeply felt than anything we feel individually.
But even as powerful, even as final as death seems to be. There is something that binds us even closer, that is far more powerful, and endures far greater.
The Love of God. The love which binds us, the children of God, together more powerfully. That transcends culture, that transcends age, nationality, ethnicity, It is a love reflected in the words read this morning.
3 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” 5 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” 6 And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. Revelation 21:3-7 (NLT)
We are His children. The lady whose ashes were laid to rest most certainly understands that now – the promises of God to her in her baptism, that she heard all her life, that her husband proclaimed from pulpits, that she taught her children – all of us, that was proclaimed loudly.
For she is one of those brothers or sisters or fathers or mother or children that I have received.
That message that this couple shared with so many of their children, they shared with their New England born and raised kids, Who didn’t get to know them long enough, and yet knew their home was my home as well – where brothers and sisters welcome me still! .
Truly in Christ Jesus we gain more relatives, more family, and a hope that extends far beyond this life….. into eternity.
We are God’s children….. created in Christ to do good works, to love… to care for each other, to share the hope given to us.
Posted on August 13, 2014, in Devotions and tagged brothers and sisters, Children of God, Dads, death, depth of God's love, Family, funerals, God's family, graveside, Jesus, memorial services, Moms. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.