Who’s to Blame?

Lots of anxiety going on in our country today. It started in March with what turned out to be COVID-19. Most schools, churches, restaurants, hotels, department stores, barber shops, beauty salons, and other establishments were shut down. Many are just now reopening.

World Health Organization reports that more than six million people worldwide have become infected and 370,000 of them have died. In the United States 1.7 million confirmed cases have been reported and more than 100,000 people have died.

Who’s to blame for this pandemic? Lab workers in Wuhan, China? The Chinese Communist regime for withholding warnings? The World Health Organization for not acting more quickly and definitively? The President’s task force? Pharmaceutical companies for not waving a magic wand and coming up with a vaccine? Yesterday? People who laughed at social distancing?

Then, just as light began to appear at the end of that tunnel, another oncoming train appeared. On May 25, George Floyd, an African-American man, was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill and lost his life in a neighborhood south of downtown Minneapolis, Minn.

Mr. Floyd was arrested, handcuffed, and pinned to the ground by police officers. One of them unrelentingly pressed his knee against Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. Mr. Floyd was unresponsive when paramedics arrived and later was pronounced dead.

There’s little if any doubt that the officer in question is at fault. He has been charged with second degree murder. The other three officers on the scene have been charged with aiding and abetting that murder. Any or all of the four could spend many years in prison.

Community response initially included peaceful protests demanding justice for Mr. Floyd’s death. Along with those pleas for justice, protesters also decried racism, undeniably a sin.

Incredibly, those protests attracted or catalyzed rampant riots in Minneapolis and other cities across the nation. Some rioters appear to have been imported and paid to participate.

Rioters shattered windows, looted stores, vandalized buildings, torched police vehicles, dismantled and emptied ATMs, defaced churches and national monuments with graffiti, and tried to attack the White House, exhibiting violent and vitriolic behavior. At least 40 cities have imposed curfews. National Guard has been activated in 15 states and Washington, D.C.

Who’s to blame? Racially biased and discriminatory law enforcement officers? Policemen who arrested Mr. Floyd and whose actions led to his death? Rampant racism embedded in our country’s culture? Rioters who burned, robbed, damaged, destroyed, pilfered, and plundered small Mom and Pop establishments along with Big Box stores? Parents of the perpetrators of violence? Municipal, county, state, and national politicians? The U.S. President for insensitive or inflammatory remarks? His critics and opponents who want him defeated? All the above?

Who’s to blame? I’d start with Satan: “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Pet. 5:8. What we’re seeing these day is absolutely demonic!

And I’d quickly add mankind’s sinful flesh. In the Old Testament, the Lord said: “… the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” Gen. 8:21.

The devil and our sinful, evil flesh, working together, are at the root of both racism and rioting. In this case, the same culprits have resulted in the loss of a man’s life and have turned peaceful protest against racism into stealing, looting, torching, and destroying.

What’s the cure? Spiritual, parental, legal, moral, and behavioral reformation? Yes. But not easily accomplished. Many moving parts.

Two highly respected Black leaders have modeled helpful thoughts about responding to the sin of racism in a peaceful, non-violent manner:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was described this way: “Never burned one building. Never robbed one store. Never destroyed one town. Changed the world.”

And Dr. Ben Carson said: “We, the American people, are not each other’s enemies. The enemies are those people behind the curtain jerking everybody’s chains and trying to divide us up by age, by race, by income. Peaceful protests of unfair practices are good and are part of what makes America a strong nation. But senseless destructive violence must be recognized and resisted.”

Additionally, a heretofore unknown man named Rodney Floyd, George Floyd’s own brother, said: “I’m asking for peace the same way my brother would ask if he could see the situation, if he was here. Peace. Peaceful protests. It is the best option we have to bring justice.”

I obviously concur with Holy Scripture and couldn’t agree more strongly with these three men.

Lord, have mercy and help us live in peace in this troubled world, regardless of who’s to blame.

Ten Rules for a Good Old Age–Adapted

  1. Stop worrying about the financial situation of your children and grandchildren. You’ve taken care of them for many years, and you’ve taught them what you could. In case of an emergency, you’ll be there to help. But you gave them an education, food, shelter, and support. The responsibility is now theirs to earn their way.
  1. Maintain a healthy life with moderate exercise like walking every day. Eat well and get sufficient sleep. It’s easy to become sick, and it gets harder to remain healthy. Stay in touch with your doctor. Get annual exams even when you’re feeling well.
  1. Always buy the best, most beautiful items for your wife or husband that you can afford. Enjoy your time and money with your spouse. Some day one of you will miss the other, and the money will not provide any comfort then. Enjoy it while you can.
  1. Don’t stress over the little things. You’ve already overcome so much in your life. You have good memories and bad ones, but the important thing is the present. Don’t let the past drag you down. And don’t let the future frighten you.
  1. Regardless of your age, keep love alive. Love your spouse. Love life. Love your family. Love your neighbor. Love your surroundings. Love your country. Giving affection helps us stay young at heart.
  1. Be humbly proud, both inside and out. Don’t stop going to your hair salon or barber, unless you cut your own hair. Manicure your nails. Go to the dermatologist and the dentist. When you are well-maintained on the outside, it helps you feel confident and strong on the inside.
  1. Don’t lose sight of fashion trends for your age, but keep your own sense of style. There’s nothing sillier than an older person trying to wear what is currently fashionable among much younger people. You’ve developed your own sense of what looks good on you. Stick with it.
  1. Keep informed about what’s going on around you. Read a newspaper. Watch the news. Go online and read what people are saying. Make sure you have an active email account and try to use some of those social networks. You’ll be surprised which old friends you’ll meet. Keeping in touch with what’s going on and with the people you know is important at any age.
  1. Respect younger people and their opinions. They may not have the same viewpoints as yours, but they are the future and will take the world in their direction. Give advice, not criticism, and try to remind them of yesterday’s wisdom that still applies today.
  1. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6)

 

If I were the Devil — Paul Harvey 1965

Paul Harvey Aurandt (1918 – 2009), better known as Paul Harvey, was a conservative American radio broadcaster for ABC News Radio. From 1952 through 2008 his programs reached as many as 24 million people per week. Paul Harvey News was carried on 1,200 radio stations, 400 Armed Forces Network stations, and 300 newspapers. Here’s his commentary from 1965. Title: If I were the devil:

If I were the prince of darkness, I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness and I would have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree, thee. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first.

I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve, “Do as you please.” To the young, I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square”. And the old I would teach to pray after me, “Our Father, which art in Washington.”

And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.

If I were the devil, I’d soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves, until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.

If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellects but neglect to discipline emotions. Just let those run wild until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every school house door.  

Within a decade, I’d have prisons overflowing. I’d have judges promoting pornography. Soon, I could evict God from the courthouse, and then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls and church money.  

If I were the devil, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg and the symbol for Christmas a bottle. If I were the devil, I would take from those who have and I would give to those who wanted, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And what will you bet I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich.

I would caution against extremes in hard work, in patriotism, in moral conduct. I would convince the young that your marriage is old fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.

In other words, if I were the devil, I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing.

Paul Harvey. Good day!

If Paul Harvey were alive today, I wonder whether he would add a COVID-19 comment, labeling coronavirus as a tool of the devil designed to interrupt the churches of our land, along with the schools, businesses, stock market, governments, economy, commencements, weddings, funerals, and life in general.

Maybe he would point to China as a political tool of the devil in developing and spreading the virus. Or perhaps he would recognize it as a chastisement from the God of the universe for the wayward wanderings of people in our country and world.

I wonder. But if I were the devil, I’d never tell.

Pandemic or Plague?

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Credit: Wikipedia

COVID-19 has been declared a worldwide pandemic. Could it also be a plague?

A few Facebook friends expressed it this way:

In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship. God said, “You want to worship athletes, I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down Civic Centers. You want to worship actors, I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don’t want to go to church and worship Me, I will make it where you can’t go to church.”

In Exodus 7-12, God sent plagues upon the Egyptian people who were holding the nation of Israel captive, beginning with turning the Nile River from water into blood. Then came plagues of frogs, gnats, flies, dead livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and death of the firstborn children throughout Egypt. Finally, the Egyptian Pharaoh let the people go.

Could COVID-19 be God’s way of dealing with a wayward world? “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chron. 7:14

While the idea of the God of the universe being the cause and source of destructive, disrupting, and deadly disease is frightening at worst and distasteful at best, it’s surely a question for pondering: Is coronavirus a pandemic disease or a divinely initiated plague?

Be that as it may, consider this prayer of Dr. Cameron Wiggins Bellm, pastor of Woodhaven Baptist Church in Seattle, Wash., sent to me by longtime friend Bill Siegrist:

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.

May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.

May we who have had to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. Amen.

Nothing

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Credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Nothing on grocery store shelves. Especially in toilet tissue and hand sanitizer departments. But things have improved in the past few days.

Nothing going on in schools. They’re closed for at least the next two weeks. Some longer. Parents juggle regular chores, work, and other duties with unexpected home schooling.

Nothing happening in churches? Gatherings of 10 people or more are discouraged. Crowds of 50 or more are outlawed. Public worship services have been shut down. Live streaming is in. Christian love is being shown in many ways every day. By pastors. And by other godly people.

Nothing in the offering plate? Maybe not nothing. Just not enough. Now’s the time to start electronic giving. Try it. You’ll like it.

Nothing on TV really worth watching? At least for sports enthusiasts. Sports events cancelled. Netflix and Amazon movies abound.

Nothing to hope for as high school and college athletes look forward to being recruited or hired? Won’t have the exposure needed to get recruiters’ attention. Life goes on.

Nothing to look forward to as a senior in high school or college? Commencements probably won’t take place. At least not on time. These memories will last.

Nothing to alleviate the sadness of brides and grooms whose weddings have been in the planning stages for months if not years? Private ceremony? Honeymoon postponed? What to do with the cake? And the flowers? And the tuxedos? And the mothers’ dresses?

Nothing to take the place of spoiled vacations? Cruises. Flights. All cancelled. Staycations are in.

Nothing going on in thousands of businesses shut down for the foreseeable future? Will they be able to bounce back when COVID-19 is gone? Time will tell.

Nothing in the bank account? Stock market debacle. Businesses closed. Employees laid off. No paycheck. Unemployed workers left to fend for themselves. Facing real financial challenges

Nothing.

Oops. Almost nothing: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:35, 37-39)

Nothing. But hope and confidence in Christ!

The Future is Here

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Before getting into today’s topic, a couple family notes. February 6 was my sister Karen’s birthday. I’m not telling her age–“many” years younger than I am will need to suffice.

Karen was born the day before our parents were married–February 7. Of course her birth was 10 years later than their marriage. I’m thankful for Mom and Dad, my sisters–Carol, Karen, Debbie–and the rest of my immediate and extended family members. All are gifts from God.

Now to today’s topic. The future that was forecast by self-appointed seers years ago is here. Along with that future has come many changes. Examples abound.

In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within a few years their business model disappeared. They went bankrupt. That has also happened to other organizations unwilling to adapt to technology and creativity affecting life everywhere.

More change is ahead and even already upon us. Artificial Intelligence, health care that melds medicine with engineering, remote diagnostics, autonomous and electric cars, Uber, Lyft, Alto, Airbnb, 3D printing, hypersonic aircraft, and much more. Welcome to the Exponential Age.

Futurists are predicting that some auto manufacturers will cease to exist. Traditional car companies will try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car. Tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will use the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels.

It’s also predicted that such computers on wheels will result in much safer driving and fewer accidents. Time will tell. I’m aware that auto insurance leaders are discussing the long term impact of self-driven vehicles on the auto insurance industry. Whose computer is liable?

Online learning and costly delivery of traditional models have created huge challenges and significant anxiety in the field of higher education. In my own church body, two institutions of higher education have closed– in Selma, Ala. last year and Portland, Ore. earlier this week.

Solar, wind, nuclear, and fossil fuel energy sources are competing for market share with huge economic and environmental ramifications. And we’re seeing a significant increase in business leaders and workers working remotely via cell phone, computer, and video conferencing.

Even some in the church are thinking and acting futuristically. Virtual worship services live streamed are attracting large crowds of folks worshiping in their own living room. Distribution of The Lord’s Supper remains a challenge but electronic giving works just fine. The Amazon mentality is universal.

Here are just a few of the many quotes about the future by famous people:

Trying to predict the future is like driving down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window. The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different. Peter Drucker

Time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future. John F. Kennedy

Hold fast to the Bible. To the influence of this Book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization and to this we must look as our guide in the future. Ulysses S. Grant

I don’t know what the future may hold, but I know who holds the future. Ralph Abernathy

The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas is a tradition observed by many Christians. This celebration begins with the birth of Christ on December 25 (Christmas) and concludes with the coming of the Magi, the wise men, on January 6 (Epiphany).

You’ve heard the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and probably know most if not all the words. It begins “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me … a partridge in a pear tree.” The song continues with the second through twelfth days of Christmas, identifying each of the other gifts “my true love gave to me” on each of those days.

A popular theory is that the song’s lyrics are coded references to Christianity and that the song was written to help Christians learn and pass on the tenets of their faith while avoiding persecution. Though the myth-debunking Snopes website disagrees with that theory, the spiritual connections are interesting enough to share. So here we go:

The Twelve Days of Christmas

A partridge in a pear tree = Jesus Christ
Two Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
Three French Hens = Faith, Hope, and Love
Four Calling Birds = the four Gospels and/or the four Evangelists
Five Golden Rings = the first five books of the Old Testament, aka the Pentateuch
Six Geese A-Laying = the six days of Creation
Seven Swans A-Swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
Eight Maids A-Milking = the eight beatitudes
Nine Ladies Dancing = the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
Ten Lords A-Leaping = the Ten Commandments
Eleven Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
Twelve Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed

On another more serious note, some of you might remember that this will be the first Christmas after my dear mother went to heaven January 10 of this year. The following words are most meaningful to our family and I hope to yours as well:

The first Christmas after you lose someone you love is hard.
You won’t feel like celebrating, but you’ll go along with it. For the kids. For the family.
It will hurt. The presents not bought. The chair not sat in.
The memories of past Christmases that threaten to suck the joy out of the whole day.
But you will get through it. You may even smile through the tears. It’s OK.
If you can, thank God for the Christmases you had with your departed loved ones.
Start a new tradition in their memory.
And remember the love you shared through the holidays.

Terry and I pray for you and your family a joyful and blessed Twelve Days of Christmas!

+Rev. Robert Charles Greene+ (1938-2019)

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Credit: Alexander Boden on Flickr

By now many of my readers have heard about the passing of a very dear friend, Rev. Robert Charles Greene. Bob had been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer on May 28 and went to heaven July 10, a short 41 days later.

Bob’s obituary is at https://www.ramseyfuneral.com/obituary/pastor-robert-greene. It’s a comprehensive yet concise review of the highlights of his life. Without writing a book, it’s simply not possible to capture adequately 81 years of faith, family, life, love, and leadership.

Jean Greene, Bob’s wife of nearly 57 years, and their children Steve and Diane shared with me a 16 page document titled “Biographical Record and Remembrances of Robert C. Greene.” On those pages Bob shares highlights of his life, family, and career, including vignettes that provide interesting insights into this man’s life, values, and character. Here are a few examples:

As a student at Concordia High School in St. Paul, Minn., Bob worked in the kitchen: “I had a difference of opinion with the President of the College about which of the two people working in the kitchen should become the head person. About this time the President came into the kitchen and told me to go hang up my apron. I was no longer to work there. I was told to come by his office and pick up my check.” Bob wasn’t reticent about expressing his opinions.

In a congregation he served as a young pastor: “There was a real need for Sunday school classrooms, youth room, kitchen, and office. But when the decision went to the Voters it was defeated, primarily under the influence of one family. So I went to a member of that family who had young children and asked him to chair the building committee for a redo of the building vote. When it came up again for a vote, this time it was easily adopted.” Bob knew how to lead.

During my last term of office as President of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod I appointed Bob as chair of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance, aka BRTFSSG. One of his duties was to visit each of the 35 districts of the Synod for a meeting of the Board of Directors or District convention. At one of those meetings way above the Mason-Dixon Line, in the winter, he had no overcoat. I lovingly chided him and presidentially “ordered” him to buy a coat and send me the bill. Not long thereafter I saw him. With a coat. But I never received the bill. Bob knew how to listen. Sometimes with only one ear.

Much more could be said about Rev. Robert C. Greene. Much more will be said at his memorial service this Friday. Suffice it to say here that he was an intelligent, bold, strong-willed, visionary pastor and church leader. More importantly, he was a loving husband and devoted father.

One of Bob’s favorite Scripture readings was Philippians 1:21: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Amen! Rest in peace, dear friend and brother in Christ!

A Celebration of Life

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Credit: Wikipedia

Two weeks ago this morning my mother went to heaven. This past Saturday we laid her physical body to rest in the cemetery plot right next to my father. Most of our family watched as her casket was slowly lowered into its final resting place. Those who wanted to do so dropped a bit of sand onto her casket. “Earth to earth … ashes to ashes … dust to dust.”

Saturday’s memorial service was a wonderful mixture of sadness and rejoicing. Sadness because Mom will no longer be present in our lives. Rejoicing because she prayed for nearly three years that Jesus would take her home to heaven. Jesus finally answered her prayer.

During the week between her passing and burial, her children and grandchildren took care of the multifaceted details connected with death. Funeral home. Casket selection. Flower shop. Informing relatives and friends. Notifying pallbearers. Securing travel and lodging. Planning the family gathering. Communicating with pastor. Selecting organist. Editing photos. Finalizing and publishing obituary. Scheduling cemetery arrangements. Ordering headstone engraving.

Lots of important details needed to be taken care of. The result was a service of thanksgiving to God for our mother’s life and love, followed by a wonderful reception with food and drink, hosted by members of Mom’s church.

There were tears that day. There was also rejoicing. Most of our family members and many friends, both current and historic, paid their respects to Mother and shared their love with our family.

Many gave flowers or memorial gifts in her loving memory. Countless cards, letters, emails, text messages, and phone calls were received, all incredible outpourings of love. It would be nearly impossible to respond to each of those acts of care and concern. Many thanks to all of you!

During Mother’s 34 ½ months in assisted living, many friends and family visited her, almost daily. Many but not all of them signed the guest book near the door. After her funeral I counted the names in the book, a total of 2,080 visitors in slightly more than 1,000 days.

My comments near the end of the service included quotes from the Hymn I’m But a Stranger Here, Heav’n is My Home and concluded with the words: Goodbye, Mother Elda. You’re now home. In heaven. With our father Martin. Rest in peace. We’ll see you again. Someday. At home! 

Our final moments with our mother in that house of God, Cross Lutheran Church in New Braunfels, Texas, were a celebration of life for a woman who was blessed by God to be a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, great great grandmother, aunt, cousin, and friend.

To God alone be the glory!

Finding the Right Words

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This weekend our family will celebrate the life of our dear mother and will lay her mortal remains to rest. We thank God for her legacy and are truly thankful for the many expressions of love, care, and concern that have come from friends around the state and across the country.

What does one say when a friend’s loved one dies? At such times in my life, I think carefully, trying to choose the right words. Sometimes I think I succeed. At other times, not so much.

My thought is that what to say depends on the circumstances of the death of the person in question. What was the cause of death? The age of the deceased? Was it expected, after a lengthy illness? Or was it sudden? Did the deceased leave young dependent family members? Was it an infant who died? Had the person who died lived a lonely existence for many years?

My father died 36 years ago after more than a year of struggling with cancer. He was only 66. My mother and her four adult children weren’t ready for him to leave. Neither was he.

Mother died peacefully in her sleep at 102 years and 9 months, quite alert and fairly active till a few days before her death. She was ready to go. It would have been selfish for us to pray otherwise.

At Daddy’s death our family was grieving. His friends were also grieving. The words they shared with us reflected their sadness and disappointment following the death of a man who had only rarely been sick. Their words also focused on how much they knew we would miss him.

In Mom’s case, most people knew she had been praying that the Lord would take her home. So had her family. She had terminal congestive heart failure and had lived alone 36 years, the last 34 ½ months in assisted living. She wanted to go to heaven. Her death was a blessing.

Notwithstanding those circumstances, at Mom’s passing many friends of our family shared their love and concern in words expressing sorrow, condolence, and sympathy. My first words a week ago when I heard the news that she had passed were “God be praised! She’s now in heaven!”

Some of our neighbors brought a floral arrangement to our home with a card that said “May all your days be filled with the beautiful memories of your mother!” A second floral note said “May the certainty of the resurrection bring you joy even in the midst of your mourning.”

One thoughtful card said “We are among the multitude of saints rejoicing that Elda is now in the presence of the Lamb!” Another note said “We thank God for the mother who gave birth to you, a blessed woman of God indeed!  Now the cloud of witnesses just got stronger!”

Here are three points to consider when finding the right words to say at a time of death. First, put yourself in the shoes of the survivors and try to imagine what you might want to hear if it were your loved one who had died. Then say or write those words from your heart.

Second, try very hard not to let your anxiety and fear about what to say prevent you from saying or writing anything. Just knowing you care enough to express your love is priceless.

Third, don’t forget what Christians believe about the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Those are promises of God that bring hope, comfort, and joy!

Rest in peace, dear Mom. We all love you more than words can say!