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The disciples dearly loved their teacher. So it is understandable the reaction that they would have when Jesus says to them that he is going away, that he must die to prepare a place for them. Peter jumps up and says, “No!” “I will go with you?” They are desperate to do anything to change Christ’s fate in the face of death. Jesus reminds his disciples “where I go you can not go.” Jesus still must suffer and die.
We find ourselves sitting here this afternoon with the same unsettling words from Jesus reminding us of our position with death. “Where I go you can not go.” Looking at this casket everything within us wants to join Peter’s denial. We want to do anything but accept death. We want to extend life one minute, one hour, one day, one week, one month, one year or one decade! Death is final for our finite bodies and relationships here on earth. It is not however the final word!
This is why Christ’s words in the book of John provide such a great amount of hope and divine hospitality. To me Christ’s words echoes those hopeful words from the Psalmist when he reminds himself while suffering that, “even in the depth of death, you are there.” Even though we cannot immediately enter where our deceased loved ones have gone in death we know that Christ has already been there. Even though we will not know the experience of death until we have experienced ourselves, Christ gives us great hope. Mansions are being built, banquets are being prepared, the broken bodies that we had here are restored to the wholeness in which they were intended. We are only given a glimpse into what is to come, what to expect and how death ends. We do not know these things because we cannot go where they are.
Yet, what Christ gives us is the comforting words of grace that even in death God is full of love and hospitality. God accepts us in death and is there with us. Reminding us that we are one of God’s own. We can have hope that this is S’s experience with death as well.
We will miss, grieve, remember and disbelieve S’s death. Yet, we will also have hope in the resurrection. Knowing that if we can be resurrected from our broken lives into something new, that God can certainly bring life out of this death as well.
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