Revd Christoph Wutscher
In the Revelation to John, the final book found in the New Testament, we read this sentence:
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21.4).
This sentence is sometimes heard at funerals and also comes to mind at this time of year when we as a church focus on remembering loved ones who have died (particularly at All Souls) and also at our services on Remembrance Sunday when we are mindful of those who suffer in times of war (particularly poignant perhaps as we mark the centenary of the end of WW1 this month).
The sentence from Revelation is part of a vision describing a future life where heaven and earth do seem to overlap and it expresses the hope that there will be a time when sorrow, pain and death will no longer be a part of the human experience of life.
This time of year can be difficult for many reasons; we might experience bereavement on a personal level or may more generally be anxious about what the future may bring. And we may feel overwhelmed by our feelings and circumstances of life. But we should not forget that even now heaven and earth do overlap in our hearts and that God's presence can be a consolation even in difficult circumstances. This is why at funerals this verse also features often, because it is a reminder of support and help in dark times:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23.4)
So even in darkness, may we find solace in God. And with the help of those whom he sends to comfort us as rod and staff, may we find healing for our hearts.
Yours in Christ,