Posted in Letter
The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
A long standing member of the church died last Sunday. We have many memories, a smile, a sense of mischief coupled with strength of character - they will be much missed especially by the family. Please hold them in your prayers.
Ecclesiastes is one of the books of wisdom found in the Old Testament which shows that death is a natural part of life. In our sanitised modern society we often struggle to know how to deal with death. A couple of generations ago in the UK, when there was a stronger sense of community, people would gather round in support of those who had been bereaved. But today we can be embarrassed, what do we say? What do we do? And the COVID19 situation makes things even more difficult.
I remember sorting through my dad’s affairs a few years ago and what a blessing it was that my sister was able to come from Australia for a month to help. We spent precious time together reminiscing as we sorted through his flat. And the walks we took to Eastham Ferry Woods, a place of childhood memories, were a great chance to share family stories. Celebrating a person’s life is part of the process of grieving for their loss.
Wisdom, encouragement and hope is found throughout the Bible and as I was asking for guidance for the scripture to bring in this week’s letter 1 Corinthians 13 came to mind; the passage about love. In this short chapter there is so much to hang on to; I have included the whole chapter at the end of this letter for you to read and think about. What is this love which Paul writes about? This is the love which we show to others which comes from God’s love to us:
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
This is not just an emotion it is also an act of will which leads to actions, the original Greek word is agape. It is the sacrificial love which does not count the cost. This is the love which Christ demonstrated when he took our place at the cross and bore our sins. He died so that we might live. This is the price which he paid that we might have life and have it in all its fullness. It is because of Christ’s sacrificial death that we can celebrate even at the death of a loved one who has accepted Jesus as their Lord and saviour.
This Sunday we will remember Jesus’ sacrificial death with an informal communion service at Emmaus; the first time we have had opportunity to do this as a fellowship since March. We look forward to seeing some of you there but are also aware that some of you feel it is still too early to come back to church.
How is God inviting each of us to show this kind of love to others?
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
Graham and Katy Hill, Local Church Leaders