Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rest in Peace

This past week I was honored to be asked to do the funeral for the son of one of my best friends.  Dustin was only 18 years old and died of unknown causes on Thanksgiving.  The funeral of a young man is always difficult but when it is sudden and unexpected the task becomes daunting.

I knew that I would be preaching before a large crowd of mourners at Dustin's High School.  What could I say?  What would offer comfort to both teens and adults who sat with broken hearts and looked on, seeking answers?  It has always been my habit and belief that the only thing that I can truly offer in these times is the Gospel.  And so that is what I gave.

The term "Rest in Peace" is so common to us all that we sometimes overlook the context.  Why have we been given these words to use during times of death?  Because it is a statement of faith.  Rest in Peace is not a request it is a statement of fact.  When a person puts their trust in Jesus and then orders their life in such a way that they seek to follow His way of love, then the end of temporal life becomes a resting from a job well done.  Christ Jesus has already done the hard work of defeating death.  He has already transformed death from a finality to a transition from temporal to eternal life.  There is no fear of the end of things for those who put their trust in God.  There is only peace.

Dustin's life was one lived to the benefit of others.  He reached out to all who had need and was a young man who did so selflessly.  His mother told me a story about how one bad weather day a couple of winters ago, Dustin got up early, loaded his truck with chains and jumper cables, and headed out on the highway just to see if anyone needed help.  It wasn't his job.  He could have been home, safe and warm and playing video games.  But he had a desire to serve others.  His was a life in which the Parable of the Good Samaritan was lived out.  I will miss Dustin and my heart grieves for his parents.  But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that his life will always serve as an example of love for all those who knew him.  Rest in Peace, Dustin.  May Light Perpetual shine upon you.