On Monday morning my daughter, Cana, was born. On Tuesday evening my grandfather, Joe, died. As my father said, this week has been quite an alpha and omega experience.
Though he was very old and his death was in no way a surprise, I cannot avoid the sadness of how he died. Unlike my other grandparents who died more or less quickly as a result of "old age," my grandfather has struggled for twelve years since suffering a stroke, and his condition has been complicated by obesity and mental illness. His death was an ugly, drawn-out affair, and particulary painful for my grandmother to watch.
I’m preaching at his funeral tomorrow. And though we will celebrate his life, we will also mourn his death. Tomorrow will be a time for weeping and laughing, for mourning and dancing. We’ll weep and mourn at his suffering and death, and we’ll laugh and dance as we revel in our memories and in the love of God that surrounded my grandfather throughout his life, and that continues to surround him in death:
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 (NRSV)