Sunday, February 8, 2009

On Death and Distance.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor heights, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (8:35, 37-39)

My aunt, my dad's sister, died on Friday morning.

This is the hardest part about our yearlong sojourn across the border: Being away from our families at the most important of times. So I've been thinking a lot about this passage in Romans, which seems to present death and distance as obstacles of a similar species. They threaten to separate us from many things, but maybe the thing we fear the most is that they will separate us from what we need the most:

Love.

God's great graceful glue, the love of Christ, and the way we receive that Love through the people around us. When those people are gone, through death or distance, Love can seem distant, too.

But over the course of seven months here, in the midst of so many discoveries, my most surprising discovery of all is that Love somehow remains. I think deep down I thought a lot of things would disappear forever when we left Chicago. Yet somehow the most important bonds are still there, stronger than ever.

And if Paul is right about distance being a false separator, then he must be right about death, too. Nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God, he says. Not distance. Not death.

Of course that's all easier said than believed, easier affirmed than trusted. So come, Lord Jesus. Shine that Epiphanal light on us all.

4 comments:

From Michigan with Love said...

you are in my prayers each day! :-)

Zach & Hannah Parris said...

We love you. And we pray for you always and we'll pray for your family, too.

Mike and Beth said...

We are sad for you and we are sad for you family. We trust you all to our loving God....we love you, too.

Mike and Beth said...

When someone we love dies there is a sense that a part of us has died as well. There is an emptiness, a hollow void that echoes inside. The promises that seemed so easy to believe and to claim as our own are now called into question. Is the promise of God an empty carcass, or is it filled with resurrection life? "Be still and know that I am God." Rest in the assurance that God has not, nor ever will abandon you, but loves you with an ever-flowing expression of grace. May we be instruments of that grace for you, Chris, and your family in this difficult time. Know just how very much you are loved and missed.