1Thess 4:13 and now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
15We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.g 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. 17Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18So encourage each other with these words.
NOT A SERMON I JUST WANT TO SHARE TO THOUGHTS THAT HAVS BEEN DOMINATING MY THINKING OVER THESE LAST COUPLE OF DIFFICULT DAYS SINCE MY MUM DIED.
I’VE BEEN COMFORTED THINKING ABOUT MY MUM’S DEATH
In those verses the Apostle Paul wrote to the very first generation of Christians who had lost loved ones and he says that for those of us who are Christians the death of someone we love is a time of very mixed emotions.
I want to suggest to you that despite 2000yrs passing nothing has changed for those us here who are Christ followers we are experiencing two very mixed emotions.
He describes Christians as those who experience the perhaps most powerful of human emotions, grief. When someone dies whom we love as followers of Jesus in common with the rest of humanity we mourn and sorrow.
That’s exactly what today feels like to us, I am not sure I have ever experienced such sorrow in my heart as I have experienced since my mum died.
Yet Paul says that’s not the whole story when it comes to death for those us in living relationship with Christ, for no matter how strong our grief and sorrow is we experience alongside it an equally powerful emotion.
Paul describes us as believers not just as those who sorrow but as those who experience hope in the midst of our sorrow.
Just look at what Paul does in these verses.He takes us to the cross, and the empty tomb of Jesus and describes Christ’s return and reminds us that because of what Christ has done for us and promised to us we can have hope in the face of death.
Death seems so powerful here today but I want to tell you that for my mum death is not the end. Gods Words says that for those in a personal relationship with Jesus, death is as temporary as sleep and that those who die are with Christ at present and will one day return with him one day.
What that means for those us who sorrow is that we have this hope, for Margaret Petticrew death has not been an end but a new beginning. Death has brought her to be with one she loved most in life her Saviour Jesus Christ. Death for Christians is a comma, not a full stop.
Another aspect of our hope today in the face of death is that we will one day experience reunion. Scripture tell us here that those of us who are Christians will one day be reunited with those we love either when we go to be the Lord or the Lord comes with those who went to be with him.
This is incredibly sorrowful time today as I say goodbye to my mum but I have this hope that one day I will experience an equally joyful reunion with her.
I’VE BEEN CHALLENGED THINKING ABOUT MY MUMS LIFE
I have also been challenged thinking about my mums life.
I take a lot of funerals, and i often have to ask people what the person who died will, be remembered for.
Sometimes I get answers like …… “Bags, she loved hand bags, or shoes, or football teams.
From all messages I have had and conversations i have had since her death itsvery clear that my mum is remembered for love.
Especially Love of her husband, love of her children and grandchildren and friends.
I once saw written across a wall in a church building in the US these words …. “SMALL THINGS DONE WITH GREAT LOVE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD”
I can think of no more appropriate epitaph for my mum than that
So many of us here have had our worlds changed by this wee woman who did small things with great love
Small things like playing endlessly with children with great love
Small things like supporting people in difficult timed with great love
Small things like making the endless number of strangers who entered her home welcome with great love so they didnt stay strangers for long.
My mum never did any of the things normally associated with greatness in our culture and she won’t leave behind a huge monetary legacy but let me tell you she was did great things and leaves behind a tremendous legacy. A legacy of love which touched, supported, challenged, comforted and inspired so many people.
Another wee woman who had great love for others wrote these words
” not all of us can do great things. But we can all do small things with great love” mother teresa
Now that she has gone those words embody the challenge her life has for ours, to follow her example and do small things with great love in a way that changes people’s world for the better