“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.” -1 Corinthians 13:11
Fourteen years ago, I took the train from Montana to Washington to say good-bye to my grandfather Lloyd Cooley. It was a week of spending seven hours per day at Mira Vista with him holding his hands, reading him poetry, singing him his favorite hymns, and it was truly blessed time to have. One of the most meaningful times I had was holding his hands one afternoon while he was trying to nap. I was sitting there reflecting on how the shaking hands I was holding were ones that had piloted jetliners for United Airlines, gently picked the tangled out of my hair as a child, built all manner of things from furniture to a guesthouse on their property in Canada, taught me to peel apples so that the peels formed long graceful strings, and helped me land various fish over the years in Canada while we were out in the boat. Saying good-bye to him for the last time at the end of that week was a tearful affair, and his death several weeks later threatened to completely undo me mentally and emotionally.
Back in Montana, one of our church kids was being confirmed, and she was the stereotypical kid who asked too many questions. I happened to be there with her on Good Friday when it all became “real” for her as we read the seven last “words” of Christ, interspersing each one with three verses of “Jesus in Your Dying Woes”. It is one of my favorite liturgies of the year, and sitting in our small Lutheran church with her when that realization happened is a moment I treasure to this day.
In hindsight, that Good Friday was the moment it all became real for me as well. It was the first time I faced the day as an adult who understood the very significance of why we as Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday and rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. If Christ’s death on the cross means that death is not forever, then I have hope that I will eventually see my grandfather again someday.
Ich liebe dich, Opa.
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your son Jesus to die on the Cross for our sins, that death might not be final answer. Sustain us in the hope that we will see those whom we love again someday. Amen.