Ecclesiastes 3.1-8 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
I probably shouldn’t be writing this article of the newsletter; I’m in a bit of a mood… not mad, just melancholy. Maybe I don’t really know how to actually feel today. An Emmaus friend has been sent home from the hospital and hospice is the probable next step. Two days ago I attended the Memorial service of another Emmaus friend, a Pastor in West Terre Haute, Mike Baker. He was a great guy who will be missed by many. The last two weeks have been full of “Ohio family” health issues. So, yes, today seems like one of those days when we are sad because we will truly lose a good friend and yet we are happy that they will be with the Lord. Paul was struggling between staying on this earth and being in ministry for Christ or his own death and being with Christ.
Philippians 1.21-23 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
The death of a Christian friend or loved one is a sweet and sour kind of thing. I know there are some that say, “oh you should be happy or rejoice at a death.” I suspect that means we believe their soul at death will be with the Lord, so we should be happy for them. Who wouldn’t be happy to know a friend or family member is now “with the Lord”? BUT our loss is real. We will still miss their presence here in our life and in our community. Their absence is real, and our grief is real too. So it is a sweet & sour kind of a thing, isn’t it? At Lazarus’ death, Jesus wept. And then Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and everyone was amazed and rejoicing, I suspect we will experience those same emotions; we will experience grief and we will be happy as we contemplate Jesus raising our friend(s) from the dead.
We are quickly approaching Easter or as some know it today, Resurrection Sunday. A time when we can remember several key ways that God has exhibited his love for the world: 1. Jesus took on flesh so we could have an opportunity for redemption – righteousness – eternal life. 2. Jesus took on our sins as he died on the cross – he who knew no sin took on the sins of the world. 3. The resurrection of Christ is a sign to us that we too will rise from our death (physical) and be with God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom forever.
1 Corinthians 15.42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
There is no resurrection without Jesus’ incarnation and birth. There is no resurrection without his death on the cross and his burial in the tomb. There is no righteousness for mankind without his death; and with his resurrection God signals to us and all mankind that we too have an opportunity for eternal life, because of God’s great love, mercy & grace!!! That message, that promise, allows us to rejoice at a death. Sure we will cry too, but the greatest healing an individual can receive is to be healed spiritually, to be “saved”, to be made righteous —clean, Holy— to be born again. And frankly that’s how we should feel about Jesus and Easter— saddened at his death and the pain and suffering, but eternally grateful for the cleansing action of the cross and ecstatic at the thought that the grave won’t keep us either, that we too will rise and live in the Kingdom of God… forever. It is as sure as April showers bringing May flowers… everything has its season.
Pastor Kevin & Marlene