Chelmsley Wood Baptist Church faith//hope//love

  • Mortality

    A friend of mine died last week. It reminded me that I’m reaching that stage in life, but he was only 55, too early. Just on a normal day, out driving, felt ill and pulled over, and that was it. No chance for goodbyes, no last few moments. He left behind his wife and four children, as well as a crowd of people who knew and loved him.

    It shook me, the tragedy of this departure, and those left behind, devastated and lost. How do you cope, how do you come to terms with someone just popping out, but then never coming back. So much unsaid, so much unfinished.

    I’ve no idea how I would react in such circumstance. I’m of the rage against the fading of the light disposition, but the family are showing such grace and dignity in the face of such harsh reality. What do you do when your heart is ripped out, so casually and without warning.

    They are followers of Jesus, but there is no pious preaching here, no hiding behind dogma or platitudes. When his widow spoke it broke your heart. She spoke with peace and grace, her broken heart was there for you to see, but God held that heart.

    It always raises the question of suffering and God. If there is a God, why is there such suffering? And some conclude from the harshness of life that therefore there is no God. But they remain angry with him nonetheless. But what if there is a God? What if there is a God, and she doesn’t stop evil from happening, but stands with us, weeps with us, when evil does happen?

    Whatever the questions, at heart I am sold on and convinced by incarnation. It’s why I believe what I believe and do what I do (well, the good stuff anyway). Because incarnation doesn’t seek to hand you all the answers, it stands with you. When things go wrong, explanations may help, but they don’t comfort or heal. Explanations don’t reach down and pull you out, or warm you with a smile.

    Incarnation does.

    To get back to my friends, to say religion is a crutch and these people are better of without it, is both ignorant and patronising. Their faith in Jesus has imparted to them a peace, a comfort, a dignity and, in time, a healing. If you wish to argue whether God is behind that or not, go ahead, I’ve got no particular desire to persuade anyone to believe that or not. All I can do is tell you I have seen something inexplicable, and I believe mystical. In the broken life of that family the presence of God is tangible. You can see it in their tears and hear it in their words.

    May God bless them and walk with them, and may God surround them with love from both heaven and earth.

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Neil (the minister) occasionally gets round to blogging so welcome to the trivia and ramblings of an erratic stream of consciousness.

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