Summary: The Christian hope is that there is life after death
2015 Service of Memories sermon
One of the greatest gifts that God has given us is the Gift of Memories
And all of you here today have come to Church to remember a loved one
We treasure the memory of those times that we have had together.
Times of joy, times of sorrow, times of sadness and times of fun
The Bible is a book of memories too.
Memories about God and about his chosen people in all walks and shapes of life.
The Psalms are full of people’s struggle in the face of adversity
The writer of the Book of Ecclesiastes wrote this about life:
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
For some of you today will be in a time of mourning – a time where you will want to weep, a time where you will want to mourn
Others of you will have gone through that process and will be in a time of mending, a time when you have come to terms in part with a grief that will probably never fully go away
I came across this interesting poem by Clare Capron that I’d like to share with you:
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away
The dearest objects of our earthly love
Now they are safe in His almighty keeping
Safe in the Home prepared by Him above
Neither could we have faced the final parting
But for His consolation deep and strong
He came to find and heal the brokenhearted
To even change their grief to song
It is as we accept the way of trial
Relinquish to him what we hold most dear
That He “the God of comfort” and of mercies
Will ever draw us to Himself more near
He will enrich our lives beyond expecting
Just by the very things He takes away
And will enable us to be a means of comfort
To others in distress one future day.
(based on 2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
And when we grieve, we often ask the question: “What happens after death?”
Jesus’ great encouragement to us is that death is not the end of the road for a Christian.
It is the beginning a new life – a perfect life – a life full of the presence of God with no more evil.
St John the Divine, in the book of Revelation describes what heaven is like:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying “Now the dwelling of God is with men and he will live with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things is passed away.”
Our grief as Christians is not to be a grief without hope.
We still are to grieve but we are called to grieve with hope
St Paul wrote this about death and the
13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
15According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thess. 4:13-18)