“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13
I went to a memorial service yesterday, for the father of my boss here on campus. Beforehand, as I deliberated what would be tasteful to wear, all that came to mind were those graveside shots in movies, with everyone wearing Victorian-era clothing, all in black, with hats and veils, weeping.
I determined that a white with black pinstripes button up shirt with grey slacks would be appropriate, and discovered that those sitting around me were also not so somberly attired. In fact, I couldn’t sense any somber feelings in the church, no doom and gloom whatsoever.
There were no black hats or black veils or a widow’s wailing. There was sadness and deep pain, but at the same time, a rejoicing. Rejoicing that he is now free from Alzheimer’s. Rejoicing in the freedom he found in accepting Christ at the age of 60. Rejoicing because of the good, good, worthwhile life he led.
And I realized that Christians are free to do so. We know this bereavement is only temporary, that in the scope of eternity this time spent without is the tiniest fraction. We allow joy to mingle with our grief, and laughter to flow as suddenly as our tears. We can rejoice in all of life, not only the life spent on this mortal soil.
Christ is all, and in all, and unites all. Through him we enjoy this sad celebration.