Inspired by Mark 12:18-27
“And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is God not of the dead, but of the living.” Mark 12:26-27a (NRSV)
When we lose a loved one, we often try to comfort ourselves by imagining that person in heaven. Such imaginings usually include a sense of peacefulness, natural beauty, perhaps being reunited with other loved ones who have gone before, and being freed from whatever pain and suffering may have marked this person’s life on earth.
Such images can be helpful, and may not be inaccurate. But they are incomplete. For the place where we go when we depart this life is far less important that the One we go to—we go to be in the presence of the Lord.
Heaven is a kingdom, and the Lord God is king. He embraces our loved ones fully and gently, surrounding them with his love, showing them with their eyes unfettered by the worries and influences of this world how his glory sustains everything that is, that was, and that will be, and how nothing escapes his tender mercy.
And we need not wait to die to be embraced by the Lord our God, for the kingdom of heaven is here now, in this place, in this life, and the same God who cares for our departed loved ones also cares for those of us still in this world. The kingdom of heaven is at hand, and the Lord of the living embraces all who are, who were, and who will be.
Let us pray. God of life, your Son defeated death. Comfort us in the knowledge that we are never beyond your tender care, whether in this life or in what we call death, that we may live fully for you now and not fear the life to come. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.