May 26 Reflections

I can remember vividly a Sunday night worship service at my home church in Sheldon, Iowa. It was March of 1968. I was 12 at the time. The pastor got up at the beginning of the service and simply began to weep. It really is the first time I saw a pastor cry or for that matter anyone else in church cry. A young man from the congregation, Harlan Brandts, had been killed in action in Viet Nam. The entire congregation was stunned into silence first, then an audible weeping was heard in the midst of the silence. There was prayer…tears…silence…some singing…as far as I can remember there was no message that night; simply Scripture reading with prayer, but the tears are etched in my memory.
There is a fascinating verse in Psalm 56. “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not kept in your record?” (verse 8) The Risen Lord remembers our tears. He collects them in a bottle so large that he will not lose one of them. He notices our tears, is touched by them, and places them in remembrance before himself. The Risen Lord treasure your tears and remembers them long after you have forgotten. The Risen Lord is compassionate and merciful.
This weekend is Memorial Day weekend. We remember those who gave their lives in service of their country and we remember those loved ones who have passed away. It is good to remember. Often in remembering there are two parts: we remember with joy and gratitude the person’s life of faith, courage and love. Many times, this includes a smile and even laughter. But there are also tears. We miss someone we love. It was the same for Jesus when he wept at the tomb of Lazarus. The crowd that was gathered said, “See how he loved him!” (John 11:36) The Risen Lord weeps with us. We are going to reflect on this together knowing that someday the Risen Lord will wipe away all our tears. (Revelation 21:1-4) Some passages of Scripture to read/reflect on for Sunday: John 11:17-44; Revelation 21:1-7; Psalm 56:1-11; Psalm 34:1-15.
Grace upon Grace,
Pastor Verlyn