This prayer is part of the Jewish liturgical service and has been for hundreds of years. There is a line in it that comes from the Psalms that is easy for Christians to recognize. It was said by Jesus on the cross. ‘Into His hand I commend my spirit…’. We have had several sudden losses connected to our church in the last few months and I’m afraid our dear friend Cheryl, who was a regular worker at our food pantry, is not long for this world. She suffered a sudden heart attack last Sunday and she has never woken up. She fhas been moved into hospice care. It’s almost unbelievable that one minute we can be in service at church and when we get home we can be at the threshold of Eternity. We’ve said it a lot over the last months, but we never know how long we have and how long our loved ones have on this earth. It can seem a little frightening thinking about our mortality and the fact that we could leave this world at any moment, but there is a comfort. If we truly belong to the Lord then it is into His hands that we commend our spirits. He is in charge. He has us in the palm of his hand and that’s the best place to be. We are with Him, whether in the body or in Heaven. 1 Thessalonians 4 gives us this:
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
“Therefore comfort one another with these words”. The Lord and Paul knew that even for the believer loss is loss. We know our loved ones go to be with God if they are in Him, but we are still left with the hole in our lives here on earth. Let us be comforted today. Have you lost a loved one recently? Don’t grieve like those who have no hope. We shall one day be reunited. That is a comfort.