Live with the End in Mind
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life… On each side of the river stood the tree of life…And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” – Revelation 22:1-2
Sunday was a special, and solemn day of worship for our community – not only did we celebrate Communion together, we also remembered our members who passed during the year. It’s bittersweet to take that annual moment to read their names, see their faces, celebrate their lives and pray for their families.
Today, we brought that celebration to a fine point as we had the memorial service and luncheon for DeeJay Emerson. She was well eulogized by family and friends, we were lead in prayer by he friend, Rev. Peggy Shannon, brought a message of comfort and hope by her son, Rev. Chuck Emerson, and lead in beautiful music by Dorothy Kantor and Kenton Klink.
Yes, it was sad – but it was also special, and important.
I’m a big proponent of funerals. I’m not in any hurry to conduct any, but when someone passes, I’m a huge proponent in gathering together to celebrate and remember. It’s one of the most important parts of the grief process.
Everyone has a unique journey of grief. For some, the loss of a friend or family member – especially a parent or a spouse – can be debilitating. It feels like losing a limb. You’re numb. You’re unsure how to even proceed in life. For some, it comes with obvious outward manifestations, tears and tremors and a host of other experiences. For others, the people around them might not even notice a difference… but the grief is still there. Groups like Griefshare and support teams, books and counselors – prayer and worship – can all be important parts of that journey in keeping you from getting stuck.
And so too, I believe, is a message I first heard a quarter century ago, from the famous author Steven Covey – Lead with the End in Mind. Maybe, it could be better put broadly as:
LIVE WITH THE END IN MIND
The “end,” in one sense, is the limits of our earthly life. I think it’s important to live with our limits in view. There are times, situations, tasks, where we simply have to admit we can’t do it. It’s ok to say no.
But the real “end” is much bigger than that. The real end is painted beautifully in scripture at the end of Revelation, in a vision by John – that new heaven, new earth, new city of Jerusalem coming down so that God is permanently with humanity and the garden and the river and the tree of life that constantly bears fruit and leaves, too, which are for the healing of the nations.
That picture is important to hold on to. It’s an important vision to hold out, especially in the face of headaches and headaches, personal losses and fears about today as well as tomorrow.
When we plant our hope in the firm soil of God’s promises, in the future painted for us in scripture, in the person of Jesus, it can change the way we live our lives now and provide a kind of peace that surpasses all understanding.
While I’m not advocating for any more funerals in the near future, I’m grateful when we have them, so we can be reminded of the good and real hope we all have. In this complicated and messy world, it’s where I really want to grow!
Welcoming You to Grow in Jesus,