John 10:16-17, 27-29: “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father. … 27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand.”
The question is asked how “Life Together” in Christian community has been a critical piece of who I am? For me, what has been an integral part of my faith recently has not only been the support of my Church family at Redeemer, but through the loss of someone dear to me: my mother, Janice.
Before her passing, from time-to-time, I would have thoughts regarding the presence of a life hereafter and whether it was eternal. Granted, these moments would be only fleeting and I would remind myself of the promise of Jesus and somehow my faith was rationalized through argument. But, it was always something of an intellectual justification of my faith.
After my mom’s long and painful struggle with cancer had come to an end, I found I was no longer having these internal debates with myself. I just know where my mom is and that I will inevitably be with her again. Somehow, I was assured of the promise of Jesus as set forth in these verses from John. As painful as it
is to lose and now be without my mom, each passing day spent apart from her reveals to me a greater understanding and confidence that this will only be temporary. I am and will forever be one with her, Christ, and all believers of His promise.
Dear Lord, please remind us always that we all have a “Life Together” even when we apart, and that we take comfort in knowing that we remain one flock, undying, with your promise of eternal life. Amen.