Written by Larry Anderson
Tuesday, 14 August 2012 00:00
Editorial note from Sam Logan:
On Monday, August 13, the President of Biblical Seminary, David Dunbar, sent the message immediately below to the Biblical community. Below Dave's message is a blog written by Biblical Faculty member, Dr. Larry Anderson. Larry's blog was scheduled to appear on August 24. In light of the message from Dave Dunbar, I moved up the publication of Larry's blog to August 14.
David Dunbar's message to the Biblical Seminary community on August 13, 2012:
I feel the shortness of life today. Dave Lamb’s mother passed away about ten days ago. Darryl Lang’s mother is nearing the end of her days. My mother passed away on Friday evening. She seems to have slept her way peacefully into the presence of the Lord, for which we are very grateful. My daughter-in-law is staying with us just now and helping to care for her own father who is in the last stages of a massive onslaught of aggressive cancer . . . he will likely pass away in the next few days.
Our culture does much to disguise the reality of death, but the fact is that our lives here are fleeting and fragile. Resurrection is the good end of the story however. Let us live in hope of a brighter tomorrow!
I would value your prayers for our family, especially my dad. I am sure that Dave and Darryl would appreciate the same.
Larry Anderson's Blog:
I can't pretend death don't hurt anymore!
As I write this blog, I'm sitting here in my black home-going suit. I call it that because it has been donned at more of these services than any other occasions. I have one more obituary to add to my collection, and once again I am filled with emotion. I realize I can't pretend death don't hurt anymore!
As a pastor, I'm aware that I attend these more often than most, and many times I have no deep relationship with the deceased. It's the families that I am seeking to support. Nevertheless, I am still filled up reminiscing about all of the people I have personally lost while identifying with all the pain others are currently going through. I can't pretend death don't hurt anymore!
My calling is to remind people that we in Christ do not mourn as those who do not have hope. I'm called to explain that this is a celebration of life, and even better, life everlasting. I'm called to share with this grieving family how their loved one is even in a better place than all of us are right now. But I can't pretend death don't hurt anymore!
I do believe the Bible, and I do understand to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord; but I also know the pain of losing someone you love so dearly can take your breath away. I know how the littlest memory on a bright sunny day can bring you to a point of gut-wrenching grief. I know how a song, or a movie, or some past shared moment can have your eyes welling up with tears even with a smile on your face. You see, I just can't pretend death don't hurt anymore!
So I'm not going to tell anyone they shouldn't be sad or they need to stop crying. I'm not going to say "Time heals all wounds", or "Try not to think about it." I'm going to be honest and say "Death hurts, but it won't hurt always." Death does not get the final word. The real joy for those left behind is the reminder that one day we'll attend the biggest family reunion we've ever imagined, and the Host of Hosts will be Jesus Himself. Physical death awaits us all, but knowing the God of Comfort and having a relationship with the Lord sure makes it a lot easier to accept.
Larry L. Anderson Jr. is Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and the Director of the Urban Programs at Biblical. He is also the pastor of Great Commission Church, previously located in the suburb of Roslyn, PA, but now situated in the West Oak Lane community of Philadelphia to provide a holistic ministry to an urban setting.