My turn for writing seems to come around so quickly! I find, however, that there always seems to be pertinent things happening, giving me something to share with you all. I shouldn’t be surprised about that, should I? The life of God’s child will always hold something worthwhile to share with our brothers and sisters.
This past week has been very busy in our retirement. When I was attending Trinity Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis (from age 9 to over 30), my Pastor always announced a death in the congregation using the following words. ‘It has pleased the Lord in His infinite mercy to call from our midst…’ Lately it seems as though the Lord is calling His saints home and we’ve said good-by to several.
Monday and Wednesday we attended funerals of two of them. I want to share with you the scripture used at both services, one in a small town in Minnesota and the other in Minneapolis. I want to point that out because I feel it’s not… well, coincidental because I don’t believe too strongly in happenstance. It seems much more likely that God Himself is arranging the details.
Both Pastors used John 14:1-6 and they did so because each family asked them to do so. These verses read:
Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going. Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You are going, how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me.
Helen, who was buried on Monday, was 96 years old and had loved the Lord many, many years. It was her Pastor son-in-law who shared the message. He told how she wanted him to emphasize this truth loudly and clearly, because there may be someone in the church service who didn’t yet know the way. Helen knew that the words of Jesus were the truth for herself and for all the world.
The service on Wednesday was more emotional for me because it was for my brother-in-law, Bob. Paulie and Bob were married for 60 years and he’d recently celebrated his 85th birthday. Bob was small in stature. But his bigness in love, generosity, wisdom and joy was the testimony of his family. Several years ago Paulie and Bob found their youngest son, Phil, dead in his bedroom, evidently of a heart attack. He’d been in the marine and had just graduated from the university. God’s grace ministered to them and the Spirit helped them appropriate it.
A few years later, their son Michael died after a severe stroke. Once again God’s grace supplied their needs. And then another tragedy happened in their lives, a 22 year old grandson disappeared and all these years later, he has not been found. During all these years Paulie and Bob helped raise two grandsons and as the next generation came, they, too, have known love at Paulie’s and Bob’s hands.
Their Pastor had known Bob for many years and told us of his love and admiration for Bob. And he told us of his visits during his illness. Bob, too, knew that Jesus is the only way to the Father, and so this scripture was shared at his funeral service, in the event that someone in the service would hear this truth for the first time.
My friends, I have the feeling that we all are walking on this same path, but in the event that you do not as yet know that the words of Jesus: I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. are such gracious words, intending to draw us to Himself. What love!