A prayer given at the graveside service for my father-in-law:
O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered: Make us, we pray, deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human life; and let your Holy Spirit lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days; that, when we shall have served you in our generation, we may be gathered to our ancestors, having the testimony of a good conscience; in the communion of the Catholic Church; in the confidence of certain faith; in the comfort of a reasonable, religious, and holy hope; in favor with you, our God; and in perfect charity wiht the world. All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The past few weeks have been witness to the loss of some giants of the faith in my life. We lost another one recently. I don’t know exactly when, but I just heard yesterday that one of my true heroes, Dwight Palmquist, passed away from brain cancer. He died in the Philippines, the country he loved.
My grandmother passed away this morning. As I have reflected on her life through the day, I have also been drawn into my own mortality, my walk with Jesus, and thinking of Dallas Willard at his passing.
When Dallas Willard passed, John Ortberg noted Dallas wondered if it would take some time before he knew he had passed from one dimension to another. Ortberg wrote:
He said that a person is a series of conscious experiences, and that for the one who trusts and follows Jesus, death itself has no power to interrupt this life, for Jesus said that the one who trusts in him will not taste death.
My grandmother trusted and followed Jesus. Death has no power over her. We knew she was so ready to “go home.”
I long for my life to be lived in the presence of Jesus. I long for it so deeply that I truly want that experience I know Dallas Willard and probably my grandmother had… it could take awhile before you realize something’s changed in a particular dimension because you’ve walked so closely with Jesus here, it just seems “natural” that, well, here he is.
My grandmother was the constant in my life. Her memory will ever be that place for me. She now sees face to face what she has longed for these past days. She is home.
What puzzles me is the decision for the Chiefs to go on with the game tomorrow. The players apparently want to play. I can understand that to a point. However, what it shows, in my opinion, is our inability to deal with grief. Instead of stopping to process to what happened to a teammate, the opposite thing happened. It is the American thing. We don’t know what to do, so we decide to work.
Somehow, we think it “honors” those have died. We need to stop. We need to grieve. We need to mourn. Our souls hurt. Football… or work… just doesn’t matter. Couldn’t we have the courage to say, “Look… for this day… football just isn’t it. I need to stop and mourn the death of my friend.”
Not “Left Behind” (like that book series). Left behind as we remember those who have gone on before us.
1 But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. 2 In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be a disaster, 3 and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace. 4 For though in the sight of others they were punished, their hope is full of immortality. 5 Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; 6 like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them. 7 In the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble. 8 They will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them forever. 9 Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his holy ones, and he watches over his elect.
(The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Wis 3:1–9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.)