Heartache’s Antidote

Passion week is but days away, that week of all weeks.

The week of remembrance.

I’m seated in the center of the gathering, craning my neck to see the preacher man. He’s natty in suit and tie, appropriately dressed for a mourning. And although I can catch his honest-truth words, I’m straining to capture the nuance of expression playing across his face.

“We’ve gathered to remember…”

His voice carries on the salty breeze wafting through surrounding treetops. A vibrant garden venue displays its missing caretaker’s imprint: luxuriant, lovely.

“…beloved mother, grandmother, friend…”

I settle back into my chair, resigned to study the pinstripes blocking my view.

And for a brief space, my mind wanders sixty miles south. There’s another gathering today. Another group of intentional mourners, paying honor to the memory of yet another newly-absent caretaker.

Beloved wife, mother, daughter, friend.

I’m missing the moment, but my heart can just make out the intonation of that second preacher, tenderly ministering comfort and kindness. My soul throbs vicariously with the yearning, with the lonely, heartsick vacancy.

“We’ve gathered to remember…”

And we do remember. We remember the life, the joy, the vivacity. We remember the courage, the kindness, the love. We remember the beauty, the grace. Yet with all the remembering comes the smart of aching souls, earnestly longing for the one who filled so many hearts’ spaces so well.

We drive home in the quiet, and I remember.

Passion week is but days away, that week of all weeks.

At the close of the week, in the quiet breadth of a hushed room, the Lord made his request. “Do this in remembrance of me.”

Because He knew.

He had tarried at Lazarus’ tomb, raising. He had touched the widow’s son, restoring. He had raised Jairus’ daughter, healing. He had felt the sting, the merciless thievery of death, and He had grieved. But not as “…those who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13).

Because in His impending sacrifice, He carried the antidote for every heartache, every aching, throbbing, empty space left barren by the rending of spirit from body. And He knew that the trail to the cross would be a trail to glory, the glory of many sons and daughters coming into their rightful inheritance: eternal life in the presence of the Father. It would be the trail to ultimate victory, snatching the keys of death from the author of death himself. And ultimately, through every heartbeat of His agonized suffering, our joy would be made secure.

spring branch 2And He knew that when we lifted that cup of remembrance to our lips, we would be struck again with the wonder of the sacrifice. We would be reminded of His words, His character, His life. We would remember His death, His anguish. And we would bow and give thanks for the new covenant that guaranteed our ransom, ensuring our life.

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25, 26)


Photography by Kylene Nesbitt


 

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