Last week I had the privilege of sharing with you how I realized I became a part of my amazing spiritual family over eleven years ago. I realized my entrance into this family had nothing to do with the ministry work I had done in the last few years. Neither did it have anything to do with the tough conversations I have had or the character changes I have experienced as I faced the reality of my less-than-perfect sinful nature.
There was another thing I realized on that beautiful Sunday morning three weeks ago. In this spiritual journey, I never chose against anyone. I never closed doors on relationships. I never cut others out of my family. I merely chose life. I stepped through the door of life and left the door open as I invited all others to follow me.
You see, I believe there are two families on this earth. Two groups of people who are distinctly different. One is the family of God. This group is composed of all the people who have chosen Jesus Christ as their Savior. Then there is a second group of people. These are the people who have not chosen Jesus Christ as their Savior. The first group has chosen life. The second group is stuck with death unless they choose to join the first group.
When I chose Jesus Christ as my only eternal hope, I did join a different family; BUT what I did not do was try to prevent anyone else from joining my new family. In fact, I would be thrilled if all the people from my old family decided on joining my new family instead.
I love that anyone who wants can join my new family. It definitely has a lot of perks. My new family’s inheritance includes abundant grace, righteousness and reigning in life. It’s not an exclusive club. There are no bars to jump or tests to pass. I love it.
Yesterday I had the great privilege of celebrating the life of one of my friends. He is rejoicing before the throne of God. I am still here on earth.
About a week ago, I had a conversation with someone about Communion. We talked about our different struggles with connecting with the sacrament: how easy it can be to do it mindlessly, what examining our hearts means, and how we can tend to focus on our emotional experience instead of worshiping God through it.
As I went from one commemorative event to another last night, I stopped at a drug store to grab something to wash my hands with and something else to boost my energy with. As I looked at the choices in the refrigerator, I decided on a whim to buy grape juice. Then as I took it out of the fridge, I realized I could buy something bread-like and have Communion on the pier before heading over to the candlelit vigil. I headed for the cookie aisle. I ended up with a 50-cent package of sugar cookies. I figured that is what my friend would have wanted. A little creativity. (For all of you startled by my irreverence, rest assured they turned out to be fairly tasteless sugar cookies and should have been labeled as something like bread.)
I headed over to the pier. There I celebrated the event which made it possible for my friend to be rejoicing before the throne of the eternal God. Communion had never been so full of meaning for me. Suddenly my faith seemed so tangible and real.
God had robbed the grave. There was no sting in death. The grave held no victory. There is an empty tomb. My 24-year-old friend now lives in perfect union with all his surroundings. Nothing can ever hurt him again. He is free from every habitual sin which bound him. He is free from all sickness and disease. He has been freed from his body which was subject to death, sin and pain. God has robbed the grave. He is alive. He is with my brother Jesus, and someday I will join them.
Until then, my friend, rejoice!
Which family are you a part of? Have you chosen to join the family whose inheritance is life?