In this Friday email you will see notification of Ray Davidson’s funeral on Monday. I am grateful to God for the encouraging fellowship we have had with Ray, and for the example she and Harold were and are of persevering love and faith, a faith and hope in our Lord Jesus Ray evidenced right to the end of her life. While many of us over the years have buried one or both of our parents we have not had many funerals amongst those attending our fellowship and so Ray’s death is an opportunity for us all to be reminded both of our end and also of what we have believed in Christ for. It is not just for this life. As the Apostle Paul writes “If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.” 1 Cor. 15:19 CSB
I am grateful to God for the encouraging fellowship we have had with Ray, and for the example she and Harold were and are of persevering love and faith
Knowing Christ in this life is wonderful. This world is a world marred by sin, a world where our sinning and our being sinned against twists and scars us, where we live conscious always of death and the grief it brings. Jesus is now light in our darkness, an abiding love in our perplexity and confusion, a present forgiveness that frees from guilt, the life of a new creation transforming us. But our faithful Saviour has promised us more. He has promised us resurrection life, eternal life John 5:23, 11:25-26. This is not more of the same, an endless prolongation of this present life marked by weakness and decay. It is the life of the age to come, the age where there will be no more sin, no more grief, pain and tears, no more death. It is life in the new creation freed from futility where all share in the glorious liberty of the children of God [Rom. 8:21].
As those of us who have tried know, it is hard to imagine the goodness of eternal life, its wonder, the intensity of joy and love that will be ours then; hard to imagine what it will be like when, in Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians, we will be with the Lord forever [1 Thess. 4:17], when the grievous temporary interruption of our fellowship by death is past and we awake in our Lord’s and each other’s presence; hard to imagine what it will be like to know as we are known, to see the face of our Father [1 Cor. 13:12, Rev. 22:4]. Hard to imagine where our imagining is constrained by only having experienced a life and a world marked by sin, but no less certain for our inability to imagine it.
It is hard to imagine the goodness of eternal life... where our imagining is constrained by only having experienced a life and a world marked by sin.
A time to abound in the work of the Lord
Ray, like all those who persevere trusting Christ to the end, has entered into this life, has departed to be with Christ [Phil. 1:21]. For her, death is gain [Phil 1:21], and she rests from her labours [Rev. 14:13]. This is a wonderful hope which is the hope of every believer, a hope to always keep before us for life is short. We are like sparks that float up from the fire – here a moment and vanishing; like the flower of the fields, beautiful for a time, then fading and dying. In what will seem when we get there no time at all, we will be coming to our end and appearing before our Saviour [2 Cor. 5:10], so now is the time to give ourselves fully to His service, to abound in the work of the Lord.
Now is the time to give ourselves fully to His service, to abound in the work of the Lord.
Knowing this, and seeing Ray’s example of persevering faith, let’s be determined by God’s grace to [Heb. 12:1-2] ‘get rid of every weight and sin which clings so closely, and run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God,” determined to run our race well to the end. Christ endured and triumphed, and He is faithful, able to bring us to be where He now is just as He promised. “I will come again, HE said, and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” [John 14:3]. Forever with the Lord.
Give thanks for the hope we have in Christ, the hope secured by His death for our sins, and pray for Harold and his family. They are lonelier now and grieved. Pray they would continue to know the comfort of our Lord’s sure promise, and His presence and love.
On a more mundane note – thank you to all who came to the picnic and to the annual congregational meeting. It is encouraging to be together, and encouraging to see ownership of the budgetary decisions of the congregation that embody our commitment to maintain the preaching and teaching of the gospel here and further afield, and to have a common life where we can encourage each other to persevere in love and good works, in faith and hope, until the end, whenever that day may be for each of us.
It is encouraging to be together... to have a common life where we can encourage each other to persevere in love and good works, in faith and hope, until the end, whenever that day may be for each of us.