As we look around at family gatherings, it saddens us to see that the circle of relatives is dwindling. Occasionally, as we look around at church, we also realize that over the years, familiar folks and dear friends have disappeared. From childhood on, I was faced with the loss of relatives and family friends, and during one two-year period, I lost a grandfather, a dear uncle, and my grandmother.
Later still, a father, brother and mother…
While families and church families meet these losses with prayer, reverence, and sympathetic fellowship, we still miss these loved ones. Even though we trust the promises of God and know that these have gone to be with the Lord, there are times we still long for them to be with us.
I have found, though, at special times of remembrance and memorial days that the comforts and assurances of the Holy Spirit have been most welcome. I rejoice in quiet inner pictures of the loved ones and in precious memories that I feel sure the Spirit is bringing to my mind for comfort, joy, and assurance. It is almost as if their presence is with me again briefly.
In ordinary, everyday ways, these loved ones remain with us also. In shared memories, family stories, albums, expressions of speech, and recalled humor, we re-live our relationship with them. I think we never forget those we share laughter and prayer with or those we love in the Lord. Those special times become a part of us, of who we are. The heritage of love and belief goes on through us in many ways throughout our lives.
As we live in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, our spirits are nourished not only by God’s great love but by the love we have shared with so many others. I think Jesus must smile as He sees the way His blessing, His love enriches our lives-heart, mind, soul, and spirit-through the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and the continuing communion of the saints.