Absent from the Body... By Pastor
Absent from the Body... By Pastor Joe
“Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 NLT
During the last month we said goodbye to a special member of this fellowship, Shirley Petite. Thankfully we don’t grieve like the world does, I can’t imagine how much more difficult it is saying goodbye to a loved one when you don’t know where they will spend eternity. Shirley absolutely knew where she will spend eternity. For those of us who are followers of the Lord Jesus we know this means having a personal relationship with our Savior brings great comfort at times like now.
Last week while talking to a friend he mentioned he often uses the Jesus wept passage in funerals. Our hearts go out to the entire Petite family who are still the processing through the loss and grief which comes with the death of a loved one.
The primary application of the scripture above is the hope we can receive, knowing we will be with our savior the moment we leave this earth. If Jesus tarries, all of us will enter into eternity through the doorway of death. We don’t look forward to it, yet we understand and we will celebrate the ultimate victory it does bring us.
For many, the discussion around death or dying is a uncomfortable- and imagine how much more challenging to accept and/or embrace as an unbeliever. People are dying every second of the day, we just don’t realize it, with 8 billion people on the planet the overwhelming majority of deaths are happening far from our own observation. There are websites which tally the number of deaths and live births, and individual are dying every second, actually more than one per second somewhere on the planet. The statistic that should matter the most to this fellowship is we have 1 less member on this side of eternity.
We are saddened by the loss of our great sister, who leaves an empty space in our hearts and in our sanctuary. Shirley was very involved with many activities, she even served on the deacon board. One of my favorite sayings is we are a fellowship from ninety to newborn. Ninety is just a generic number meaning we have individuals who are “Goldenaires” (senior citizens) all the way to newborns and everything in between. Hawthorne Assembly makes up a beautiful image of what the body of Christ should look like, and my hope is we never lose the ability to use the phrase .