I sat quietly on the back row of the funeral home, observing the small group of people who were paying their last respects to a dear old lady.
Rick was sharing a brief message to encourage the family and friends who had gathered there to remember, reflect and lay her to rest.
I listened as several of them shared their memories and smiled when they spoke with a thick Brooklyn accent of the many meals they had eaten in her home.
Hands down, it seems that this Italian mamma could cook circles around the finest restaurants in the area. I know spaghetti, manicotti and lasagna but these people were talking about dishes that only would be known to those who shared a rich heritage of traditions that were foreign to me.
I loved hearing how she had set up long tables the length of the basement so that everyone could sit together. I was moved as her grand-daughter played a song that came from the 1940’s when she would have been a young woman at the prime of her life.
No doubt there were great times at those long tables filled with food, wine, chatter and as one relative said, “the best of times where we all enjoyed ourselves and everyone got along.”
Can you picture the scene? Everyone together with the people they love, sharing good food and good times. Don’t we all just want to be a part of that?
It brought me to thinking of Rick’s sermon yesterday. He opened it talking about the heart of God who looks forward to the day when all of His children will be together in one big house with Him forever. It is one of Rick’s favorite thoughts.
That is the place where there are no more funerals, no more goodbyes.
For now, due to family needs, we are in a season of goodbyes. We must leave the beautiful east and head for the Kansas Flint Hills. We will carry in our hearts the memories and friends we have made on to the next ministry that God has prepared for us.
As Michael W. Smith so aptly sings “friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them.”
God weaves people into our lives in such amazing ways that we are forever blessed for having known them. The people of New Jersey are no exception.
No doubt, God’s plans for them are very good.
Someday, all the friends I have had in all the places I have lived will all be together at that big table in that big house that God has prepared for those who love Him!
I can’t wait for that day!
John 14:2 “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”