Hi Church Family,
It has been said, “Death is a wound to the living.” As you likely know by now, my family and I felt that wound in watching my sister pass away after a two-month battle with cancer. My sister wanted me to communicate to all those at her funeral that we should only have tears of joy for her as she was where she wanted to be- heaven.
I do rejoice that my sister is in heaven. I do rejoice that she is no longer suffering. I do rejoice that her final years here on earth were a testimony to God’s grace and forgiveness.
However, I still grieve. I feel that at times in the Christian community we have not always grieved well. Even in our funeral services, our focus can be on celebration, which is appropriate, yet minimizing the significance of the loss. The Bible dignifies grief by presenting it as a God-given response to loss and suffering.
At my sister’s service, I shared some words from the book of Lamentations. God saw fit to include an entire book of the Bible to a Lament. Here is a part of what I shared.
Lamentations plumbs the depths of our sorrows. It addresses where we are to go with our grief and pain. It speaks to where life is lived. God gave us Lamentations because the Bible finds room for every element of human experience including overwhelming human sorrow. God cares deeply about what you are going through right now. That was true yesterday. And it is true again today. It will be just as true tomorrow.
Jeremiah works through this pain. In the midst of his tears, we find an affirmation of faith. Jeremiah says in 3:22-23- “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions (His mercies) never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Jeremiah will anchor his soul in the truth that God’s love and compassions are unending. You can bank on this. Today’s mercies are for today’s troubles and tomorrow’s mercies are for tomorrow’s troubles. It is hard to trust Him in the darkness. If you can cling to God and hold on to Him for that mercy, it will show itself sooner or later. Work through your pain, not around it.
Loss comes to us in various ways. It isn’t only when we lose a loved one to death. There is loss that comes through a break-up. There is loss over a parent’s divorce. Loss comes to us when we physically cannot do what we once could. Moving from a house you lived in for years or your child leaving your home can feel like loss even if you are happy about the next stage. We can feel the loss of a dream or a job or a pet or a miscarriage or a friendship or changes in society.
With every loss comes the potential for change, growth, new insights, understanding, and a deepening of our relationship with others and with God. What I found true in my most recent loss is that it made me more alive to the present moment and to appreciate what I have.
Church, I appreciate you. I am thankful for your prayers, pouring out of love in tangible ways, checking in, and just caring!
With love and appreciation, Pastor Brian
When Life Is Not Fair
1 Peter 2:18-25
Link to This Sunday Worship Service
Cindy Adkins’ Community Group
Cindy’s community group is looking for three more women to join them on Friday evenings at 6:00. For more information please the office.
Operation Christmas Child
It’s that time of year, the OCC Shoeboxes are here!!
You can pick up your Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to fill at the back of the church. Collection week starts November 14th & ends November 21st. If you have questions, Dave & Betsy will be available to answer them.
A four-week discovery class will begin on October 23 at 9:00 AM held in the fellowship hall. This class is for those who want to learn more about who we are as a church. If you desire to become a member of the church, then this class is required for membership.
EBC Kids Volunteer Training Brunch
EBC Kids volunteer training and encouragement brunch will be held Saturday, November 5th, form 10 A.M.to 12 P.M. in the Fellowship Hall. Please sign up at the counter!
Sunday, November 13th there will be a Welcome Luncheon following the second service. If you have started attending church in the last two years, you are invited to attend.
Ushers and Greeters Needed
We are looking for some friendly faces to join the hospitality team as ushers and greeters. This is a great opportunity to serve the body and guests of our church. Please email Susan Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Trunk or treat
Our outreach to the community is Monday, October 31st. We need your help to make this a success. How can you help? Well, Trunks to be decorated, candy to passed out along with set-up and clean-up. Please sign up at the ministry counter.