Earlier today, we celebrated the life of Mary E. Mason, who passed away this past Saturday (on New Year’s Eve) at the age of 92. It was a hopeful, Spirit-filled service as we honored her impact, her life, her legacy. We remain in steadfast prayer for the Mason/McKeithan Family in this time, but we are grateful that they have and live in the promise that one day, they will see Mary again.
In these past 2 years, we have celebrated many godly people who have “gone on before us.” In view of the ministry side of it, these are seasons that we as people and as church bodies go through. As I was driving today to Atlantic for the graveside service, the faces and the memories of those who have passed (with a connection in my life) seemed to saturate my heart. It was as if I could see their face and recall some of the wonderful memories they have left and the deep teaching they have passed on.
From immediate family to church family to dearly loved friends: At some point, if the Lord allows us to live long enough, we will all experience it sooner or later.
But at some point, it will be us. That is, one day, it will be you or I. That is just a reality that some don’t have a problem with, but others try to delay and avoid at all costs. On my return home back from Atlantic, this was on my heart and mind. Not in some weird or confusing way, but in a way that really is about helping people understand: This life we have here, on earth, in these bodies that do wear-down and will give out, is not the final chapter. And I say: Thank God!
A few years ago, the commercial asked: “What do you want on your tombstone?” In case the ads aren’t around anymore or if you haven’t seen them (and I don’t know the answer to either), it was a commercial for Tombstone Pizza. Yet, it goes beyond a simple iconic motto to sell pizzas. It’s a question that has deep ramifications for us all.
Unless the Lord comes back while we are still alive here on planet earth, there will come a day when others will plan and have a service for us. Yes, they will give testimonies and share stories about who we were, what we did, where our hope was placed, and what kind of impact we had (on them). The question is: Will they be able to give witness about our faith? Will they be able to speak about our relationship with God and with others? Will they be able to say we inspired them?
It’s reality. Don’t put off til tomorrow what can/should be done today. So what is it you want on your tombstone? Is it being written even now? Do you want a course correction so that it can be changed? The Good News is: God provides us with everything we need! All we have to do is be willing.
I am so grateful and thankful that in the many life and memorial services I have been involved in, in a variety of different ways. That what I have been able to say and share has flowed precisely from the life and memory that the person actually left. No manufacturing of words, no partial realities, no creative descriptions needed. Just the life lived, the Heaven gained, and the lives touched.
Blessings and joy…