A family in family in the Chicago area is drawn together by death come too soon, and the traffic outside our home continues. The world doesn’t stop for our grieving. We’re not alone though. A family in Chicago proper, I don’t know them except for the news reports, is in the same place. Another family in Iraq, is freed from sadistic tyranny as the dark cover of Daesh is pushed back. Refugees – no home, no country. The list is long and is all around us – Syria, Sudan, Iran, China, on and on. We’re not alone in our grieving, and the world doesn’t stop. It is the world and it has its own cadence that doesn’t have room to stop.
A life in a picture board, moments captured to stir our memories, to bring our past to our present, to comfort us that it does matter. It brings out love, it smothers anger and frustration, and floats joy.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die”.
Death forces us to consider eternity. There are some that believe that we’re just animals that survived better, evolved better – survival of the fittest. That doesn’t leave room for love though. We’re not surviving evolution by destroying our competition with love. Evolution bespeaks violence.
Yet we have love. We see it in the smiles on the photo board, we see it as we band together to weather this storm, we see it in the sacrifices we make for each other every day. We know love because love is part of who we are.
1 John 4:7-10
7-10 My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.
So, as this family gets ready for a day of raw emotion, as the cycle of grief works it’s way through singularly and as a group, as we look for the light of hope in the darkness of our pain, we thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Now, let us all remember what it is to live in love.
1 John 4:17-21
17-18 God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
19 We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first. 20-21 If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.