readings for today really talk about preparation for heaven. And I
was especially thinking about preparing for heaven as I was preparing to
write this. I attended a funeral today. The deceased was two
weeks shy of her 84th birthday. She had lived a long and full life,
and she left a son and five young grandchildren who will all miss her very
much. But the funeral still had a very joyful feel to it. The
music played was very upbeat and her long life was celebrated, as it should
be. Because of course, she’s in heaven now.
In Hebrews the previous generation was rebellious and did not follow God
and so could not ensure their place in heaven. The current generation
was learning from their mistakes and planned to follow God’s will. This woman
whose passing I celebrated today was my previous generation – she was a close
friend of the whole family but closer to my own grandparents’ age.
But I think today the younger generation can take a lesson from our previous
generations, especially in terms of faith. This woman was as faithful
a person as I’ve met. As we’re admonished in the psalm, she never forgot
the works of the Lord. She loved animals and nature and always focused
on her faith and everything she had rather than what she lacked. She
had a bad childhood and a tough life, but she always trusted in God, and
he got her through to almost 84 years. She never had much, but she
always helped those who had less. When I was a struggling graduate
student she often sent me some money to help with groceries or books, even
though I know she never had much extra herself. And I know I was not
the only person she helped from her own meager means. And when I was
commuting from Lincoln to Omaha for many years she always told me she had
a ‘prayer cloth’ over my car and had asked angels to ride along with me.
And I got back and forth I don’t know how many times and in a variety of
weather conditions without a problem. And I know she had a whole list
of people she prayed for every day. She’s an embodiment of these readings.
Anyone from the younger generation could take a lesson from this woman’s
faith, and she has surely entered into rest with God.