This week one of the pillars of our church community passed away. She was 82 years old, and beloved, not only by her family, but also by so many others whose life she touched. She died in a hard way, sick and in pain at the end. The good news of the resurrection speaks especially loudly now--the pain of this earth has passed away, and all things are new. She will rise up again in Christ Jesus, who loves her and calls her and all of us by name.
I came to church this morning, the morning of the funeral, to help teach a part of our pre-marital seminar. People who will be getting married at Trinity in the next few months come to this seminar as a part of their pre-marital work. Most of our group this morning are young, fresh-faced twenty-somethings, expectant about the new life stage they are entering, giddy and excited about love and their futures.
The stark contrast between these two very real moments has grabbed my attention. One family at the graveside, mourning an ending here on earth, but also celebrating, in some way, the beautiful gift of eternal life. And several soon-to-be young married people celebrating what is for them a new beginning in life. The death and the life, the freshness and the sorrow--they bookend each other.
This weekend we are baptizing TWELVE babies at worship (you read that right--12!). All of these things--the death, the weddings, the endings and new beginnings, all converge here... at the font. Here God is working. God is claiming us as God's own. We don't have to do anything--we don't even have to decide! God is in control and grace is poured out abundantly. It washes over us and cleans us. We are a new creation. God has chosen us and loves us with utter abandon.
What a wonderful Promise!