We just baptized another new child of God in church last Sunday. What a cause for celebration!
I just met with a young couple last night who wish to be married. What a cause for celebration!
On the first Sunday of May we will be witnessing the confirmation vows of eleven young people in the front of St. Paul. What a cause for celebration!
As I write, I’m waiting on pins and needles for my son Greg to call and tell us about the birth of our new granddaughter and how his wife Julie is doing. What a cause for celebration!
All of these are wonderful though not unusual causes for celebration, aren’t they? Families get together, cards are sent, gifts are given, food is consumed, hugs for all around - plenty of celebration.
I spoke with a pastor recently whose congregation will be observing their 75th anniversary. And then there’s the one which had its 125th last year. And our neighbors in Hartford will have their 150th next year. All wonderful - and usual - reasons for celebration.
So when I told someone that St. Paul will be celebrating its 140th year, she actually said to me, “Oh, is that … usual?” What she meant was: it’s not the 75th or 100th or 125th or 150th; it’s just … well, only … 140 … no big deal, I guess, to some people.
But to those of us here at St. Paul … what a wonderful and unusual reason to celebrate the amazing grace of our amazing God! We have EVERY reason to celebrate as we look back on how the Lord has used St. Paul to show and share the sacrificial love of the Savior whose blood has made us the children of God. And God has enabled this congregation of his people to do this for the past 140 years! What a cause for celebration!
Is it unusual? Well, I guess it is to some. But it should surprise no one that Christians tend to celebrate not just at the usual times but at some most unusual times as well. The most unusual of which is when a beloved child of God departs from this life. Saying goodbye to someone so precious to us that it hurts to even think about them being gone … and then celebrate their departure … ???? Really????
REALLY!!!! Because when God calls one of his children home, whatever their age, we know they are celebrating life as it was meant to be celebrated. We know that they are celebrating salvation and joy better than they ever did before. And we know they are in the hands of the only One in the whole universe who loves them more than we do … our Savior, the one who died for them and rose again with the promise that we too shall rise and shall live with him in his Home forever.
I don’t know if you’ve given much thought to your funeral service; might be the last thing on your mind. But take a moment … right now … and consider this: do you want everyone to leave your funeral with an overwhelming sense of loss or with a glorious hope that in Christ they will see you again? Jesus rose and ascended into heaven so that we can celebrate even at the most unusual of times … because we know the best times are yet to come! Christ lives eternally and so shall we. What a cause for celebration!
Pastor Dave Hein
Because I live, you also will live. ~ John 14:19