For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38-39
Last Thursday was my mother’s birthday. She turned 86. She lives in Florida, but through the miracle of Zoom, all five of her kids - and most of her kids’ kids - were able to join a half-hour video call to wish her Happy Birthday. It was a cacophonous affair, with family taking part from all over the US, but also Canada, Hong Kong and, of course, London. My Mom, thankfully, is in good health, both physically and mentally, and she remains at the heart of our far-flung family.
But Thursday was a sad day, too – Rob Yates, from our congregation, lost his Aunt Catherine to cancer that morning. Rob was close to Catherine because she and her husband Gordon had housed Rob while he was at uni. Catherine was the age I am now - 58 - when she passed, so that fact, along with how much she meant to Rob, made her death really hit home - though I’d never met her.
The juxtaposition of these two events – something so joy-filled, and something so sad – made me reflect on life in general and our life in Christ, in particular. The verse above came from Morgen Edwards at the news of Catherine’s passing (thank you, Morgen!), and it seemed to pull it all together, and I found it very comforting.
Fundamentally, these events and the verse made me thankful for the rich love – of family, in particular – that we enjoy in this life. It made me want to be braver in the face of my own mortality. It made me think that even as we, at whatever age, prepare to bid farewell to this world and those we love in this life, we can look forward with joy and anticipation to being not only with our Lord, but also with those who have gone before us, in the Risen Life. And it made me want to appreciate – feel the depth of – every squeeze of my kids’ hands, every amazing cloud formation, every delicious meal, every smile from my wife.
Prayer: Lord, let us be filled with gratitude for every moment we have in this life, and please comfort those who mourn, especially Gordon and all of Catherine’s family, but please also give us the courage to look forward to our life eternal with you and all the saints.