To be honest, the pastor was quite nice. He is very genuine about his faith and very genuine about how he speaks with you. And I could tell that my grandparents cared about him. But the meditation just didn’t sit well with me.
I could have easily pulled out one of my own funeral sermons and just copy and paste, inserting my grandma’s name (Naomi–pronounced Nay-oh-mah) where appropriate. But that wouldn’t’ve done justice either.
You see, as believers in Jesus Christ, we are to not grieve as those who have no hope. This doesn’t say we’re not allowed to grieve. This doesn’t say that we should be all smiles. No. This says that we shouldn’t grieve as those who have no hope grieve. For those of us in Christ Jesus our Lord, we know to whom we belong. My grandma knew to whom she belonged. She knew that her savior is Jesus Christ and no one else. She knew that she had been saved from her sins by the shedding of his precious blood. She knew this with assurance.
In the meditation I would have brought up things about my grandma that I will always remember. I’ll remember her bad puns. I’ll remember her quick wit. I’ll remember her sarcasm. I’ll remember sitting down drinking coffee with her before and after my paper route back in 8th grade. I’ll remember how she would pay me in cartons of cigarettes so I wouldn’t have to go out and buy them. I’ll remember how she taught me how to work and work hard.
But I’ll also remember her forcefulness. I’ll remember the look in her eyes when I knew she was upset with me. I’ll remember the look in her eyes when I knew she was disappointed in me.
And I’ll remember how she lived out her faith.
She gave. She gave a lot. They owned a for profit thrift store for about 8 years. She gave away more than she sold. Yet she did so to serve the Lord. It was more a ministry than it was a business. And she painted. She painted and drew a lot. She’s an amazing artist. She made hand painted greeting cards for a long while and after she couldn’t do that anymore, she knitted hats for babies. She made over 900 hats for babies born in the hospital.
She truly lived the life of a servant of Jesus Christ. She lived and loved as Jesus did.
I grieve now because I miss her. She was a second mom to me. She was a second mom to all the cousins. We at one time or another lived with her and worked for her. We at all one time or another laughed with her, worked for her, learned from her and felt the power of her grandmaness.
So, what would I have said? What would I have said at her service? She is not here. She is gone to be with her savior. She is with Jesus now, probably cracking jokes with him and praising God that she no longer has wrinkles nor worry about cabinet doors. She is with her savior, free from pain, free from sorrow, free from struggles.
Many say that heaven is an idea or a concept. Other people take things literally and place heaven above and hell beneath. They even use parts of the Bible to make heaven a literal giant cube about as big as the western seaboard of the US. Heaven is not here. It is there. To describe something we cannot perceive is impossible. When we speak of heaven, we can only give glimmers and thoughts, like placing words to notes. Music speaks where words fail. And even music fails to truly explain heaven.
What is important to know is that she is with her savior. What is important to know is that we have the promise of the resurrection. Jesus died. He was crucified, died and was buried. On the third day he rose again. Not like Lazarus did. No. He is new. He is glorious. He is amazing. And this is the resurrection that we speak of.
God made everything beautiful and perfect in the Garden and we humans screwed that up big time. What was once supposed to be perfect was ruined. The promise of the resurrection, the hope of the resurrection, the certainty and assurance of the resurrection is that we WILL be with our God once again, fully, completely totally, 100% as it was originally. This is why Jesus Christ came to die, to bring us back to God.
He came to die for you, he came to die for me, he came to die for my grandma. And on that early morning, she slipped the seedy bonds of earth and touched the face of God. And we know that we who are in Christ Jesus our Lord will be with her as well. This is the promise, that with a flash, with a twinkling of an eye, the heavens will be rolled back like a scroll and Christ shall return victorious.
We were twisted by sin but now we’ll be made perfect. We were mortal but now we will live for eternity with our savior.
And there we will be, all who call on the name of Jesus, there we will be next to my grandma, standing next to her, singing praises to Jesus, singing praises “Holy, Holy, Holy, worthy is the Lamb to receive glory and honor and power.” To sing next to her, together, no more wrinkles, no more pain, no more glasses, no more weak coffee. We will be with her and we together with our Lord and Savior, forever and ever, amen.
This is what I would have said. This is what I would have wanted to say. I would have said these through a cracking voice and tears running down my face. As I type this, I’m holding the tears back. As I’m reading what I wrote, tears are coming down.
I love you. I miss you. I will see you again before the throne of glory singing our amens to Christ.