As spouses of pastors, we see the worst and best of the Church. On Saturday, I saw our church come together and truly be the body of Christ.
On that day, the church held funeral services for a young girl, who had bravely fought cancer for over a year. Because she and her family have been active members of the church, school, and community, my husband knew that there would be many youth who had never attended a funeral and many adults who don't attend church anywhere. We would need to be especially sensitive and offer extravagant generosity.
In addition to the sanctuary where the casket would be, some folks pitched in and hooked up the gym with streaming video for the overflow crowd. As we stood, greeted, and directed people, I was proud how everyone helped, even without being asked. People brought food for the guests and food for the family afterward. Several people took up posts with sound and video. One person saw that no one had put a reserved sign on some of the pews for the family, so he quietly went about getting it done. The day was filled with quite acts of service, not out of obligation but Christian love for the family.
It's often said that the church can be good in a crisis, but over the long term people tire and fall away. Yes, our compassion wears out and we want to move on to the next thing, or even the crises in our own lives. But in cases like this, when your friends lose a child, we will have to continue to stand by for a very long time. It is also why the church is a body of believers. We can't survive or serve alone.
So it was a sad and difficult day, despite the fact that we did celebrate this young joyful life. And there will be bright days ahead, but for now, we will walk beside our friends as they journey through their grief. God, grant us all the grace to endure.