The title above is the name of a funeral sermon I have used and adapted over the years. It is also what has been happening at Gateway with all too much frequency lately.
When death comes to an elderly Christian who has demonstrated God’s grace throughout their lives that is one thing, but we recently had a fifteen-day-old infant to die. Even though we are assured that all are now in God’s presence, the grieving and healing process is different.
When death comes I often find myself struggling for words- not necessarily the public part of officiating- but the private, personal words to family left behind and this is especially so in the death of a child.
What do you say? I have come to realize that presence is more important than words.
When death comes- even when it is expected- at best it is bittersweet. Even if death is a release from suffering and is faced in faith- it is a seperation. It is a loss. And it is felt long after the funeral is over.
And this is a significant point. When death comes we usually surround the family with hugs, cards, calls, flowers, support, prayers and food until the funeral is over.
When death comes- and it will- to us all, my mind lingers on Psalm 23. When I have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death I am counting on God’s rod and staff to comfort me and guide me past the fear to the quiet and peacefulness of the green pastures and still waters.