Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 1:1-28; 1 Peter 1:1-12
“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.”(Isaiah 65:17-19)
“The former things will not be remembered.” Depending on how you understand this phrase, it can either be scary or comforting. It can be quite frightening if your hope for the future is built on everything you’ve done and accomplished in this world. It can be truly comforting if you have confidence that your sins are forgiven, and the Lord Jesus Christ has prepared a life and a home for you that far surpasses anything you have ever known.
Have you ever noticed how different funerals can be from one another? Many people in our world try to take comfort in the passing of a loved one by “remembering” the good that they did in their life and the things that they have achieved. Eulogies are written that praise the accomplishments of a person in this world, and promises are made that “As long as we don’t forget, they are still with us…”
This is truly a sad and comfortless testimony. Not only does it deny the reality of sin in that person’s life and therefore fail to comfort those who knew them best, it also fails to recognize the fact that our memories are fleeting and the past is soon forgotten. Funeral services that focus upon the life and works of man are lost in denial and despair.
Lutheran funerals, on the other hand, direct us to the promise of a new creation that has begun through Jesus Christ our Savior. We rejoice in the Gospel of salvation, and know that through the gift of faith in Jesus Christ and by the grace of God, our loved ones now rest in the New Jerusalem, described above. Paradise is a place without tears – for the sins of the past and the suffering of this world has been forever banished by the Victory of our Lord Jesus Christ. And in this New Jerusalem, the good that has been done through Jesus Christ will be forever remembered.
Merciful Savior, Lord Jesus Christ, wash the memory of our sins away according to your word, and grant us peace at the last. Amen.
Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, email@example.com.