The Lord has sent me to comfort all who mourn.
Mark 16:9–10 (NIV)
When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping.
“But enough about me, let’s talk about you. What do you think of me?” So says Bette Midler’s character in the movie Beaches. We groan – as though we don’t secretly want to know what others think of us, or because we know such a self-consumed person. Ugh…what a bore!
Our calling as sons and daughters of God is to look beyond ourselves to the needs of others (cf. Philippians 2:4). We who embrace Jesus’ death for our salvation are to live no longer for ourselves but for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:15). Even Martin Luther – famous for his clarion proclamation that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone – says that Jesus died so that we might “live under him in his kingdom, serve him in everlasting righteousness.” (Luther’s Small Catechism, 2nd Article of the Apostle’s Creed)
If anything communicates the intent and the essence of God and his love it is the proclamation of the good news of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and second coming with the adornment of acts of compassion, kindness, and comfort. The kindness, love, and salvation of God is not meant to end with us. We have a word of comfort to speak into the lives of those who grieve, and a word of reminder to those who don’t.
I will do that today at the memorial service for Terry Connors, former member of the Northwest Houston Photo Club. Terry was an excellent photographer, a hale and hearty fellow, well-met, and a friend. He will be missed. Your prayers for God’s comfort to be shared and embraced are very welcome.