I've read many a blog post, article, news clipping, etc., over the last few weeks. As I sit and mull through the things being said, it occurs to me that I disagree with one thought. There's a quote out there from the Vatican that says "No Christian rejoices in death...". When I first heard it, I immediately thought "No, I don't agree. I'm not so sure." Which I know, especially in regards to the event in which the quote was made, makes me sound callous but let me explain.
There are absolutely times when I have not rejoiced, nor can I rejoice, in the death of people around me...and yet as I hear whispers of the closeness of death for my 90+year old friend, I know that in my grief at her passing, I will rejoice. I will rejoice! I will rejoice because I believe she will be face to face with God, sitting around the table with Jesus drinking Diet Coke out of a small can, eating cheesecake and at peace.
One of the guys who used to work with the youth would always say that when he dies he wants his family to throw a graduation party because he will finally "have graduated and be with Jesus." It's very much like him, but really a true testament to the view that we Christ following folks miss out on in the midst of our grief. Yes, there is sadness and grief, but really underlying there is joy for the person who is finally, finally, face to face with Jesus. Again, don't get me wrong. Having walked through the valley of grief multiple times on my own and with others, rejoicing is the last thing we think about as we face the loss of someone we loved. There are gradual moments down the road but our first reaction usually isn't joy. Our loss is heavy and real and very, very hard.
In the case of my 90+ year old friend, in the midst of my tears, there will be joy. She's been waiting a long time to meet Jesus. We might just have to drink Diet Coke out of small cans and eat cheesecake in her honor as she meets Jesus face to face.