Jul 13, 2022

A year ago in the spring we visited the flower gardens of Lilacia Park. We strolled around and enjoyed this mini-paradise. The colors and smells exploded with life.  Who foresaw that a year later, our dad, Joe, would pass away, and we would be releasing him into the hands of  our Heavenly Father.   Yet, God's Word in creation runs its course. "The grass withers and the flower falls, but the Word of the Lord remains forever" 1 Peter 1:24-25.

Remember your first love.

We take time to remember the loving-kindness and meaningful times spent with our loved ones, especially when the pain of grief is upon us. The Lord has told us not to forget, but to remember the joys and treasures received and the victories won. Life is hard; death even harder. But God kept His Word and left it with us to remember.

He said to Moses, in the Passover, “It shall be a sign upon your hand and a memorial between your eyes that the Lord’s Law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand has the Lord brought you out of Egypt” (Ex.13:9). Remember the Lord’s hand was at work in your life to bring you through it all.

Jesus said, “These things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them” (John 16:4). The time came when Jesus was no longer present in person, yet His Words would fill their heart and give them peace of mind. The Holy Spirit also would bring them to remembrance to comfort them, and us, to teach all His disciples to be faithful to Him, since He has ascended into heaven.

Towards the end of his life, St. John the Apostle was given a revelation of Jesus – letters to the seven churches, visions of heaven of things to come and the return of Christ. In a letter from the Lord to the Church in Ephesus it is written, “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance… But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember, therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the works you did at first” (Rev. 2:2,4-5). Take time to read, listen and remember the work Christ finished so we could be saved. Remember the work began in us. Cherish the foundation that was laid by those who went before and departed this earth. Build on it. It will challenge us at times, but it will encourage us for the days ahead in the work we began to do.

The Lord has not forgotten you. We may have forgotten him. We are called to remember the love he poured out, and in faith to return to Him. He is our first love and worthy of our love to Him and to all others. The hymn says it this way:

“O bless the Lord, my soul, nor let his mercies lie, Forgotten in unthankfulness and without praises die” (Lutheran Service Book, #814)

As we take time to remember and thank God for our dad and grandpa, remember your first love to Christ and His kingdom forever, in Paradise.

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