Home Away From Home
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:1-2)
Preacher Lee Eclov recounts a sermon he heard from Pastor Bob Russell of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville Kentucky…
The funeral for Russell's father was held on a cold, blustery day in Pennsylvania. The roads were too bad for cars to go to the cemetery after the service, so the funeral director told Bob he would take the body to the grave. Bob couldn't bear the thought of no one being there for his father’s burial, so he, his brother, and their sons piled into a four-wheel-drive SUV and followed the hearse to the cemetery.
In his own words, Russell says: “We plowed through ten inches of snow into the cemetery, got about 50 yards from my dad's grave—with the wind blowing about 25 miles per hour—and the six of us lugged that casket down to the gravesite. We watched the body lowered into the grave, and we turned to leave. I felt something was undone, so I said, 'I'd like for us to have a prayer.' The six of us huddled together, and I prayed, 'Lord, this is such a cold, lonely place.' And then I got too choked up to pray any more. I kept battling to get my composure, and finally I just whispered, 'But I thank you, for we know to be absent from the body is to be safe in your warm arms.'"
This Sunday I get to proclaim the Good News. I try to do that every week, with varying success. But this week I get to proclaim the simple bedrock truth of the Gospel according to Jesus of Nazareth.
Just as Bob Russell was able to look past the loss of his father and the dark days without him, Jesus looks past the dark days ahead of him to the promise of a greater hope. I look forward to reminding you of that hope this week.