On Friday, March 26 just before Palm Sunday my grandmother died. We were blessed with her for a long time, 86 years, and her death was quick and painless. For me, the timing was also a blessing as we rushed into Holy Week I was very vividly reminded of our resurrection hope in the promise of Easter.
Here is a reading I shared at grandma's funeral.
Restoration and Protection Promised
But now thus says the LORD,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.
As Leslie's grandchild I’m pretty sure that there are many people out there who can identify with her generosity. Many a tongue has tasted her cookies, angel food cake's, and peanut brittle. Many a foot, hand, and head were warmed by a knit slipper, mitten, and hat. Many a table was blessed by her presence at a church function or a funeral luncheon.
As one of Leslie's grandchildren I have been able to experience her love and generosity ever since I can remember. I know, if I talk about grilled cheese, Leslie bars, or Leslie wrap I could probably get a smile from my siblings or my cousins. Things were not always perfect, but she loved each one of us, constantly keeping us in her thoughts and prayers and always willing to welcome us into her home.
The reading from Isaiah speaks of God's faithfulness to God's people -- a faithfulness that grandma tried to share with each one of us. Someone once said share the gospel in every way and when necessary use words. I don't remember ever seeing grandma get up in front of a roomful of people and give a sermon out loud, but I hope we can all see her life as a testament to faithfulness to God and family.
In the coming days, weeks, and years we will all experience different feelings about our relationships and memories, but I pray that we will all remember our hope in God's faithful promise revealed in Revelation.
The New Heaven and the New Earth
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’
And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’
Scripture quotes are from the Oremus Bible Browser: The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.