Joy that lasts forever

John 11: 17-44

The room is dimly lit and the atmosphere is one of quiet anticipation. The emotional toll is paid at first with tears. In time, smiles may come to the faces of loved ones who share stories while they await the inevitable. In these final minutes of a life shared, our need for God’s mercy and grace is worn upon the faces of those who pray for God’s peace and comfort.

When facing the passing of loved ones, the life we have shared always seems too short. We are never ready to say farewell to those who have filled the precious moments we’ve tucked safely away in the corners of our memory. Such times, when recalled, pass by in an instant. In one moment we are keeping vigil, in the next, our mind may revisit a time of pleasure, a time of laughter, a time of joy. Oh that death would step aside and the joy would last forever.

The sisters Mary and Martha were not ready to say farewell to their brother Lazarus, but sickness had set in, one so serious as to lead to death. Most of us have had this same experience, when sickness comes to a loved one, death is not received as good news. Yet, with Christ, good news abounds! Our Lord has conquered death.

The good news of God’s grace brings those who mourn from the depths of sorrow, to the realization that because Christ lives, we too shall live. For Christ is the resurrection and the life. The toll required by our sinfulness is no longer paid with tears. Because of Christ Jesus, death must step aside, for the joy of heaven is ours forever.

Prayer: We thank you for your grace, O God, and for your mercy that endures forever. Amen.

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