Two Funerals…And a Birth

Last Sunday, I went to Jason’s funeral.

Jason had experienced deliverance in his life.  He had taken part in freedom and he, his wife, and their young son became involved at Freedom Fellowship.  Jason had shared his testimony of all the God had done for him.  He was truly an example of what God can do in someone’s life.

But then…something happened.

I wish I knew what it was.  I wish I had realized it when it happened.  I wish I could have done something to help him after it happened.  I wish, I wish, I wish.

I wish he would not have hung himself.

Sunday’s funeral was not easy.  He was young.  (Relatively speaking, anyway; he is only a few months older than me.)  His wife is left without the husband she loved; and who loved her in return.  Their son is left without his dad and many questions will come as he grows older.  The funeral was hard because there were so many questions left unanswered.  So many people wondering, “Why?”  So many people wondering, “What could I have done?”

Jason had experienced deliverance; he had experienced freedom.  What happened that robbed him of that?

We gathered and mourned.  We shared memories and even some laughs.  We hugged and offered promises of help and encouragement.

Last Friday, I went to Alice’s funeral.

Alice and Clarence are fixtures at Freedom and have been for years.  Married for more than 50 years, the two were rarely, if ever, apart from one another.  Alice was such an encourager.  I was told on Friday that when she would fill out a prayer request card, it was almost always Alice asking for someone to be blessed; or for the entire Freedom family to experience a blessing.

Alice was showing signs of her age.  She needed a walker to get around.  She had suffered a stroke earlier this year.  She is no longer suffering.  Now, she can dance as she praises her Savior.

Alice’s funeral, while still sad, was a different experience.  Tears were shed; people cried; yet there were not as many questions to be asked.  Her family was able to gather and sing and tell funny stories and comfort Clarence.  Alice knew the freedom that God offered.  She had experienced deliverance.

We gathered and mourned.  We shared memories and even some laughs.  We hugged and offered promises of help and encouragement.

Two people; very different.  In fact, they are different in almost every way possible:  male/female, white/black, young/old.  Which is what I love about Freedom Fellowship (indeed, the entire family of God):  different people coming together to join one another and offer praise to the One who brings us together in spite of our differences.

Which brings me to today.

We celebrate a birth; the birth of the One who brings different people together.  The birth of the One who offers freedom, hope, and deliverance.

When the old man, Simeon, saw Jesus in the Temple he said, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.  For my eyes have seen you salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).

The birth of Jesus allows us all to come together no matter how different we may seem.  The birth of Jesus allows us to gather.  The birth of Jesus allows us to share memories and laughs.  The birth of Jesus promises us that we are never alone.  We walk the journey of this life together.  We walk together toward the promise of the new life that awaits us.

And that is a gift that is offered to everyone.

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