Lord God, Gracious and Kind, Heavenly Father:
A Beautiful one, a tender one, has been taken from among us. Our hearts are filled with heaviness, our eyes with tears, our minds with questions. O Lord, we are in pain, we wonder. Why O Lord? “What if” questions, and “Should we have” questions, converge upon our minds and threaten to hold us down.
O Lord, our eyes are upon You. For You, O Lord, are good. And You, O Lord, are tender, kind and compassionate. Your Son Jesus who is in our midst by Your Holy Spirit, feels our distress, He knows our heart ache, He is touched with the feelings of our infirmities.
Surely, O Sovereign Lord, Controller of all things: If a bird cannot fall to the ground apart from You, most certainly one so precious as Charity could not have fallen apart from Your kind intentions, apart from Your gentle care.
Death, the old enemy, has come! Yet triumph and jubilation will be our portion and is surely Charity’s portion today. For You, Jesus, have conquered Death! “Because I live, you shall live also!”, are Your words of triumph. We see Charity’s body without life, we see death. Yet Charity herself has not seen death, for You, said,
“Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”
We see Charity’s broken body. But Charity has seen only life. You, Jesus are “the resurrection and the life.” You said,
“He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”
Yes, Lord, we believe Your words are true. We “…believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God…” who has come into the world. (John 11:27)
This day is to us who remain, a battle call; a call to live boldly and faithfully; a call to carry out the work You have given us, until we each also go to the grave. We hear Your call to live without fear before You all the days of our lives. And to carry out the work You have given us. We hear You say to us,
“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Mighty God, we are comforted for,
“You will make known to [us] the path of life!” We are comforted for Charity, for, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
We praise and worship You, Lord Jesus Christ, Victor over death, and Guide and Comforter in life. We thank You for Charity. We thank You for eternal life You give to those who trust in You. We thank You that according to our days, so shall our strength be to walk before You.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord I pray. Amen!
(Prayer by Eugene Clingman; December 19, 2013)