The children are napping, and all is quiet except for the toll of the bell. Through my window I hear the slow, sad bell, and I know the people are leaving the church, and heading to the cemetery.
This is the third funeral this week for our church family. They gather, again, to give teary hugs, to feast, and to remember. They gather to lay a body to rest and pray for rest for their own souls. Among them is the widow, walking wounded, upheld by her children and her God.
Earlier this week, with children upstairs, downstairs, and underfoot, I gathered with the women for our Bible study. In this place so full of life it is hanging out the windows, we sat heavy under the weight of grief and death.
And the Scripture did what it does-- it forced us to zoom out, to trace the lines of the work of God from the beginning until now. We saw the world made, and broken, and God broken for us to remake the world. We sat together in my living room, in grief and questions, protected by God's faithfulness, nestled in the blood of Jesus, and sealed in the Spirit.
This world is passing away, but the Word of God will not pass away.
And with this Word He made us His own.
Let us cling to His Strong, Solid word,
even as all else crumbles.
By grace we have been saved, and by grace we draw near to God through Jesus,
when we are overwhelmed,
and heavy with life in this world-
we draw near.
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)
We are the baptized, drawn near.
We are washed, clean, and ready to see Him face to face.
But now, we must wait, and the waiting is hard.
All the world is an airport terminal,
and all the church in this world is waiting.
The little ones are restless, and I am restless, so we make a tent out of blankets.
We play while we wait, and we read and we eat and we love and are loved.
And we sleep in our blanket tent,
because in this place, everything is blanket tent.
In the meantime...
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
and let us consider how to spur one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
The bell has stopped tolling, for now,
but its music rings in my ears, full of tears and hope.
The day is drawing near, and even now our plane approaches the gate.
Let us hold fast to Jesus, and each other, here in the meantime.
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