God With Us: Sorrow & Celebration

Author: Bo Stern | www.sheology.co | @bolovesjoe

As I sit in my office writing this, our church is being decorated for Christmas, and set up for a funeral.  Trays full of beautiful Christmas cookies wait beneath a handwritten sign: For the Memorial Service.  

It is the definition of juxtaposition

Joy and sorrow. 

Life and death. 

Celebration and mourning. 

Three and a half years ago, I attended my own husband’s funeral, right here in this building.  I remember waiting in my office as the church filled up and wondering if my legs would hold me when it was time to take my seat in the sanctuary.  I had worked and worshipped in this space for 15 years, but I had never been a widow here.  As soon as the band began leading “One Thing Remains”, I realized: Home is home is home. His presence has always been my home.  

Now, I’m praying for Rosemary, the wife of the man we will lay to rest in a few hours, and for the way her heart must be feeling.  I was married 35 years. She was married 53.  I was my husband’s caregiver.  Her husband was her caregiver.  She has three sons and one daughter.  I have three daughters and one son.  Our lives are very different. Our lives are very much the same. 

And the presence of God is our home. 

In life and in death.

In joy and in sorrow. 

In celebrating and sadness.

I think I speak for Rosemary when I say: In all of these things, His love is the only constant.  And we are more than conquerors because of the love of Jesus. 

No matter where you find yourself today, please know that you are loved and held and celebrated by a beautiful God who came to our world to be with us in all the messy, miraculous moments.  He is our God. He is our Grace. He is our Home.

With hope, 


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Whitney Parnell3 Comments