Bible Reading: John 10:10, 6:37-40
I have come in order that you might have life, life in all its fullness.
All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never turn away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day."
There is a poem that is often read at funerals which begins, ‘Death is nothing at all’. It continues ‘I have only slipped away into the next room’ and ‘Life… is the same that it ever was.’ It is by Canon Henry Scott-Holland and was written at the death of Edward VII. Its pedigree is impeccable, but I really struggle with it!
As someone who has lost family and friends and has also ministered to many bereaved families as they prepare to say, ‘Goodbye’ to their loved ones, I would argue that death is very much not nothing at all but is a reality to be faced when the one you cared for is no longer in the other room, and life feels very different. In all of these situations, though, Jesus is there to share our pain, the Holy Spirit is there to comfort us and the Father is there to show us his love.
And yet behind these words of Henry Scott-Holland there is a deeper truth, that to all who come to Jesus, he gives the promise of eternal life together again in the life to come as well as the fullness of life for those who remain in this world. As Jesus himself says, ‘Everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life’, and, of those who die in faith before he returns he says, ‘I will raise them up at the last day.’ Whether or not they are in the next room, through faith in Jesus we will be together again.
We receive this eternal life when we come to Jesus and make a decision to follow him, when we choose to put our faith in him. But we can also come to him daily with the events of life that come our way, and we can receive his abundant life. In God’s economy, the fullness of life that Jesus offers here and now includes both the joys and the celebrations as well as the struggles and the griefs of everyday life. The transformation happens when we allow him to breathe his life-giving Spirit into each and every situation.
And it doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done, when you come to Jesus for whatever reason, he promises he will never turn you away.
Lord Jesus, I come to you, thankful for your love that gives me life in this world and the one to come. Amen
Lord, I come to you