NOT AT THE HEIGHT OF OUR GLORY. Few people die at the height of their glory, in the prime of life. Most of us will die long after our "time" is past and after friends, fellow church members, classmates, and loved ones are alive or able to make the trip. Our contributions to the community will have faded from memory by the time we take our last breath.
PAST TIME? An 85-year old woman, a member of our congregation, died early Sunday morning. She had been in a nursing home for about four months and homebound for a year before. Though I visited with her occasionally, I don't know if she attended a church service in the past year. But what must be known, what must be told, what must be celebrated, is the vibrant life and witness of this woman in her prime. 66 years of faithful marriage must be celebrated. Years of active service and faithful attendance at the church. Contributions made, lives touched--these must be told.
GATHER UP THE STORY. It is one of the unique tasks of a johnny-come-lately Pastor to facilitate the gathering up of the story of an older and non-attending saint who dies. This distinctive story is to be shared in memorial, as much a way of helping all present to release her into God's hands as a beckon to all who are young that this is a life-pattern to be embraced.