Romans 12:15 tell us to "rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." I have always tried, in my ministry, to do both of these things. When it was time to celebrate with people (at births, weddings, baptisms...), I was ready to laugh, smile, hug and even dance during the wedding reception. I was also willing to mourn with those who had suffered loss due to illness, death, heartbreak or any number of things that cause us to grieve loss. Over my 20 years of ministry I have tried to live out these words.
But in the last week, I have struggled because I never expected to do these things with the same people so close together.
Back in August, I was honored to officiate the wedding of a young couple who were deeply in love. It was a beautiful outdoor wedding held at Six Points Church out by the cross. They, along with family and friends (and me) celebrated well.
But last week I got the terrible news that, due to an unknown heart condition, this lovely new bride had passed away quickly and completely unexpectedly...and so yesterday I led the funeral service to honor her life
Weeks ago we celebrated together, but yesterday we mourned together. Many tears were shed, and will continue to be over the coming days and weeks and months as we grapple with this tragic loss.
I would ask you to do a few things. First, pray for Alan (her husband) and the Gregory and Paramore families as they grieve. Mourn with them and pray for them often.
Second, hug your loved ones and tell them that you love them. Life is fragile and we don't know how many days we have with those we love.
Finally, and I know this sounds odd, but celebrate with Salem, the young lady who just passed. She put her faith in Jesus and so has entered into his Heavenly gates and heard the words "well done good and faithful servant" (Matt 25:21) and I want to celebrate with her that she has now entered into the life everlasting with her God and Savior!
Life is fleeting, but our hope is in the the Lord of eternal life.