Here is Bev, our pastor's wife, and a lovely woman. She's in the foreground in the blue shirt. She is so missed already. We had visitation at the church last night and hundreds of people came and waited in line. The family had a short video of photos of her throughout her life. She was a devoted mother and grandmother, and a sweet friend. The funeral is today at 11:00.
We use the past tense when we speak of friends who've died. "She was so lovely." "She loved him so much." Why do we do that? It reinforces the fallacy that the person has disappeared -- that they no longer exist.
Bev is still very much alive. Her body is dead, or as Jesus says, "asleep." But her soul is more alive now than ever before. If she loved before, she loves even more now. If she was beautiful then, she is moreso now. She IS. Not she WAS. If we fully grasped this concept, it would change the way we grieve.
It is appropriate to grieve because we are sad to have someone taken away from us - because we are lonely for their company. But we should not grieve as if the person had ceased to exist. Bev is already with her mother, right now. And her daddy, who is elderly, has a very short time to wait until he is with her again, never to be separated.
Adam preached yesterday on death. Christians have many misconceptions about death which are not Biblical. At least 2 people came to him afterward and asked the familiar question, "Will I know you in heaven?" Where in the world do we get the notion that our brains will somehow not function in heaven, and we won't recognize friends or family? Does Scripture ever say that? No - but some Christians somehow think there is some piety in such a notion. When Scripture is clear that there are cities, and grass, and trees, and fruit, and eating -- all in heaven, why do we see it as a place where we float around in the clouds? Jesus said to a dying man, "THIS DAY you will be with me in Paradise." The Greek for "paradise" is "the garden" - like the garden of Eden. How much more plain can Christ be, that we are, upon death, taken to a beautiful place, a garden?
This is just rambling on my part. Adam preached on the concept, which is stated often in the Bible, that the Christian does not taste death. Christ tasted the bitterness of death for us, so that in some form we do not taste death. Obviously the body dies, but I love to contemplate the fact that Bev did not taste death - her soul was taken painlessly, easily into eternal life, with Christ, with believers, in a garden of trees and a river of life.
We say in our creed that we believe in the resurrection of the body - we believe that our eternal life is not merely a spiritual one, but a physical one as well. If it were not, then Christ did not need to be resurrected in his BODY. God made us a blend of physical and spiritual, and that wonderful blend will be maintained in eternity.
Bless Bev - she's already there.