Monday, November 5, 2012

ALL Saints

"See what kind of LOVE the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of GOD; and so we are. The reason why the worlD does not know us is that it did NOT know Him. BEloveD, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not YET appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be LiKe HiM, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hoPes in Him purifies himself as He is Pure." (1 John 3:1-3)

Yesterday, we celebrated All Saints Day: a feast day in the life of the church where those of us living here remember all the saints who have gone to heaven before us, all the while trying to be neither too sad nor too envious. Yeah, okay. We know those we love are in heaven, so busy with Jesus and all the company of heaven it'll be only an instant for them until they see us again. But for us... the pain the separation of death causes those left alive is unparalleled regardless of our faith.

What kind of love is this that hurts so badly??? I thought love was supposed to be patient and kind and accompanied by wonderful things like tingling butterflies in our stomachs and warm happy feelings of safety and contentment. But it’s not. At least not all the time. That's why Paul's so often quoted exposition on love goes on to say: Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Even bad things. No, ESPECIALLY bad things. After all, good things are easy to bear, believe, hope, and endure.

The kind of love that calls you and me children of God (weak and weary and sinful though we are) is not the kind of love that waxes and wanes with passion like a fire left untended until finally all that's left is ashes. It's not the kind of love that disappears as soon as sadness and stress outweigh the warm fuzzies and physical attraction. It's the kind of love that bears the weight of our sins, our sorrows, our illnesses and our imperfections, it's the kind of love that endures the pangs of Satan, sin, and yes even death. It's the kind of love reaches beyond the cold, tearful loneliness of the grave and holds fast to the knowledge that God also loves those whom we love more than we can ever imagine with the kind of love that led Jesus to die for them and for us.

So, hold fast to that painful, sad love you feel for the saints who are in heaven today (Grandma, I miss you so, so much), but smile with your tears. Give thanks for them that they're with God today where the world longs to be. It’s the kind of love that hurts, I know, because you miss them so much sometimes it makes you sick. But it’s the kind of love that saves. It's the kind of love that lasts longer than the grave can hold any of us, and it's the kind of love that does not disappoint.

Suggested verse to repeat if it's a difficult day is from Psalm 130:6
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
"My soul waits for the Lord, -------> 5 count inhale
more than a watchmen for the morning." -------> 5 count exhale

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