Oct 2, 2013

A spider's web on a frosty day

Last Wednesday one of our much loved members, Violet Gleeson, died. Lots of us have known Violet for many years. She’s been a hugely important part of the body here at Christ Church for so long. Her death has come as a shock. So what do we do when someone like Violet is taken from us? 

Posted by: DavidW

Well we do what families should do, we get together. Meeting together is always important; it takes on an extra importance when we’re sad and grieving. We will need each other’s support and prayers. Those closest to Violet will need the rest of us a lot in the time ahead. 

Last Saturday I was talking to Violet about what was coming. At that time neither of us knew Violet would die so soon. We talked and read through last week’s Bible reading, the start of the book of Philippians. If you remember, it ends with a prayer for God’s people to be “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” As soon as I’d read it Violet said “that’s what I want – whether God heals me now or not – I want God to be honoured whatever happens.” Violet wasn’t worried about what would happen to her if she died. She knew that she would be safe with Jesus.

I have this picture here of a spider’s web on a frosty day. I thought I’d show it because it makes this point – there can be such a thing as a good death. When the frost comes at the start of winter, the spiders that make those webs die off. But what a wonderful picture they leave behind. When someone like Violet who believes in Jesus dies, of course it’s sad because we miss them and we might wish that we could have had them with us for longer;  but it is also a wonderful thing, because they go to be with the Lord. Just like in today’s Bible reading, where the Apostle Paul says that for him “to die is gain.” Violet is better off now than she’s ever been. Only Christians can say that with any confidence. Because Jesus died and rose, his people go to be with him when they die and one day they will rise again too. If this sad time makes us see more clearly how wonderful Jesus is, and how wonderful it is to have the promise of eternal life with Jesus, that’s a great picture to leave behind. That’s what Violet wanted.