My uncle died one week ago.
We held his funeral yesterday. And I was given the opportunity to give his eulogy. The brain cancer that took him was a very hard trial for our family and I miss him a lot.
I’m sharing the conclusion of the eulogy because I want to show how, in the midst of death, the gospel is a light of hope and life:
[In the first section of the eulogy I discussed those things for which the gathered assembly and I are thankful for in my uncle's life.]
But what I’m most thankful for is that though today is a sad day, it is not a hopeless day.
It is so hard to lose someone like Kenny – someone who has been so wonderful to so many. St. Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica as they struggled with this very thing:
Brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
1 Thess 4:13-18 (paraphrased)
As we grieve our loss, we need to remember what Kenny has gained. St. Paul said that we don’t grieve for Kenny as if we had no hope because Kenny “will be with the Lord forever.”
Because Kenny’s life belonged to Christ, Christ’s unending life now belongs to Kenny.
Kenny is with the God who made him.
He is with the God who kept him pain-free even in the final hours of his struggle.
He is with the God who gave him a completely devoted wife to care for and love him.
He is with the God who loved him so much he went to the cross to bear the weight of Kenny’s sins so Kenny could have this hope.
He is with the God whom death could not hold in the tomb.
He is with the God who lives. And Kenny lives. In glory.
We grieve. But, in Christ, we grieve with a great hope.
Image by MudflapDC