There are times in our lives when we can experience God’s “unconditional love.” There are times when all the resistance created by social and economic pressures is swept away. And there are times when hatred, jealousy, anger ambition, judgment, fear and insecurity are leveled.
The December, 1988, evening of the memorial service for my mother and the days before and after was such a time of love for me and my family. Mother lived in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida and was taking treatments for breast cancer at UAB where she died. God was surely present in the Church that evening. How was this possible? It was possible because a loving church family wished to express its love to a few of its members that had suffered a loss.
Our Christian Community had faith that if they opened their hearts, even though they would be vulnerable, God’s Love and Grace would shine so bright as to bring love, healing and understanding to me and my family. It just doesn’t get any better than this. This was heaven on earth for us.
The community’s expression of love strengthened our belief that my mother’s spirit was one; that God redeems all things; and that we are all heirs of God’s Eternal Kingdom.
My wife and two sons as members of this Church Family, felt unworthy of such a gift of love. My visiting brother, sister and their families were slain by the love from many they didn’t even know.
This is the way with God’s love. Once experienced, it can never again be doubted. There is no room for denying when touched in such a way.
Our faith allows God to do His work amongst us. We must never forget the strength and love our faith brings.
My mother now surely knows the secret of God’s unconditional love. Her family will never forget the Christian Community that surrounded us and shared God’s love when it was most needed.
Around the time of our celebrating my mother’s life with us, our pastor, The Reverend John Cruse, wrote these words to our church:
“A human being is so created that he is spiritually able to carry only the weight of twenty-four hours and no more. If he weights himself down with the years or days that are past or the days yet to be, his back will break and his courage will fail.
God has promised to help you with the burden, the cares, the temptations and the crises of this day only. If you are foolish enough to hug to yourself the guilt’s of the past, or the fears and anxieties of the future, then, indeed, you cannot expect God to help you bear it.
So release that which lies behind which you cannot change, receive the future as God in His love and mercy unfolds it, and breathe in the blessing and the work of each new day.”