• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

There is real life in the midst of dying

hopelessness bis bisAs I sit here writing this post, there is a nonstop ritual chanting and singing in the background. It started this morning at 5h15. It’s now the late afternoon. Though the funeral where this entire activity is taking place is several blocks away, the huge speaker system “brings” everyone to the service. It has been the chanting and singing of hopelessness for hours.

James explained to those of us gathered here that this is part of the effort of the local people to carry the dead into the next part of the journey, hoping that their efforts and the merit achieved by the deceased will be accepted and help the deceased avoid too much pain. Is there no hope? Is there no assurance of comfort?

Even when the darkness seems at its greatest strength, real life shines in its midst and dispels its shadows.

James shared with us the story of another funeral, one of a local believer. At one point during the day of the funeral, the believers were carrying the body, rejoicing in the hope of 1 Thessalonians, while being followed by a chanting and singing crowd, seeking to add their merit to aid the deceased. What a contrast that picture must have been.

Here’s what James wrote to me about the outcome of that day: “The funeral ceremony yesterday was awesome! The flow of the service was a perfect mix of prayer, songs, testimonies, and the Word. The church leaders and our apostolic leader did a great job. Members from six house churches attended and showed their love for the family. I saw God’s love on display in each of the Christian’s face. It is not common for locals to cry……especially those outside of the immediate family but there was not a dry eye in the house. Everyone was feeling the loss of a dear friend and sister. This was the first Christian death within the house church movement so it was not only a time of mourning but a time for firming up the faith and modeling.

The two sons of this deceased believer shared that they would like to learn more about Jesus and the husband said he would come to Church. This is a big praise and we hope that their verbal commitments will not be hindered by the enemy. The daughter who is a believer stood at the end and said in tears that she missed her mom but was glad to know that she is in heaven with Jesus. Wow! God clearly worked mightily and all praise is due His name.”

That is a powerful image of real life proclaiming its reality in the midst of the darkness!

Some of us live in cultures where such demonstrations of grief and hopelessness are shown in such clear ways. Others of us live in places where those demonstrations are ‘masked’. Nevertheless, they are there and present.

I don’t want to be lulled to sleep, thinking that people around me are not experiencing this hopelessness at every moment of their life journey. I want to be awake to live out real life among others, so that Christ will work powerfully in their lives and bring the hope that will carry them into eternity.

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