In the end of the Bible in Revelation, John tells us that God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” As we near the end of the church year, one that has been so full of turmoil, sadness, hope, prayer, and joy, it’s hard to stop the memories from the past year from coming. Even though I ultimately feel good about the way this last church year turned out, it was also an exhausting year.
Yesterday, I was sitting in Divine Service, listening to our end of the church year music, which tends to be in a minor key. I was remembering last year at this time, the second to last Sunday in the church year, listening to the same music and knowing that in a few minutes, Pastor Matt was going to announce he was going to take the call. It was hard sitting there a year ago, with the dark music, knowing that everything was changing, and that there was a big unknown hanging over our heads about the upcoming year. Pastor Matt said to me at the time, “Someday you’ll thank me for leaving at the end of the church year.” Maybe I will, but I’m not there yet. The end of the church year is a darker time in the church year. Right now, I think the beginning of Pentecost season would have been nicer. But God’s timing is always right, and wiser, than my own.
I know other people also have their times that bother them, anniversaries when things happened. It’s hard to be near the time when a close loved one died, or something terribly difficult happened to us, even sometimes a few years after it happened. Everybody has a different way of dealing with that. I do know that the only way that I have healed after hard times is to let God heal me, to come near to him, to come to church, to pray for help when I am angry or sad, to be with people who love me. “With his wounds, we are healed” (Isaiah 53), not only for our salvation to come, but to sustain us in our life now as well.
Even remembering what happened a year ago, even being a little out of sorts the past week, I was not sad yesterday. I received the Body and Blood of my Lord Jesus Christ. I heard the Word spoken to me by my pastor: “I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” I was surrounded by my family and friends, my new pastor and his family, all my fellow believers in Christ, even the communion of saints in heaven. It was a good day, and I was refreshed for the week to come.
Death, pain, and sadness is in the world. It is a terrible corruption of the goodness that God meant for us, and as Pastor pointed out yesterday, even Jesus wept over death and pain. It’s important to remember that He will always carry us through to the other side of our hard times, and someday there will be no more. Just wait, pray, come to church and receive Him, and trust in His timing.