Today is Monday and I am riding in the car, writing this on my computer on my way to North Carolina for my dear friend George’s funeral. I will miss Phyllis Stover’s funeral this morning in Seneca, and we had Pat Burchfield’s funeral service on Saturday.
Funerals are difficult!
They are important, they are helpful, and they are difficult.
As a minister, having the honor of presiding over a funeral service brings several emotions. I am always aware of the life of the person we are remembering. I see the love and thankfulness of the families and the friends. I see people caring and serving one another. During a funeral service, I am in the position to voice the strength we receive from the promise of Christ. Our funeral services are filled with passages of hope and redemption. We are constantly reminded of the promise of a life with God filled with wholeness. We are promised a new life without pain and suffering.
As I travel today, I am looking at results of all the snow that fell over the weekend. We just circled Washington DC and the snowfall was significant. There is something redemptive about snow; for a while it blankets the ever-present dirt and grime in the areas. Snow brings a quietness to wherever it lands- country or city. Snow makes things stop and invites us to have a period of peace and quiet. Things eventually get back to the craziness of this world, but for a short time there is quiet and the pace is slower. Things are made clean and new.
This year Easter is early and we are beginning Lent in several days. As I travel, I think of the coming Lenten season and the message of HOPE that comes from Jesus’ life and death, his love for the world and the difference Jesus made to each one of us. The season (both snow season and Lent) reminds us of the cleansing grace of Jesus, making us clean and making us new.
Lent is a time to reflect on the most important event in history, the event that puts sadness and loss in this life, into perspective and gives us HOPE. It is important to stop and remember that Jesus suffered and died for us, that is truly part of our journey in Lent, but we must not get stuck on the part that breaks us. We must look to the larger picture, which allows us to make sense out of life.
Jesus died so that we might have life and have it more abundantly.
Jesus makes a difference in this life, which is everlasting. The difference is a message of HOPE and resurrection. The difference is the message of redemption and cleansing. It is the message of being washed clean and being made NEW.
Let us enter into this Lenten season with a focus on HOPE and REDEMPTION.
During the 40 Days of Lent, make a point to look for the HOPE that is offered to us through the love and sacrifice of Jesus. Look for ways in which God is redeeming you. Look for ways God is cleansing you and making you new.