Tomorrow we will attend Kathie’s funeral. It is so sad to say goodbye. I have been asked to read the first reading, from the book of Wisdom. Here are the words I will read:
- The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace. For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; They shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the LORD shall be their King forever. Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with the elect. Wisdom 3:1-9
I have been thinking about these words a lot, and how they apply perfectly to Kathie. This passage of scripture could have been written specifically for her. Tonight, I am particularly struck by this line – Those who trust in God shall understand truth and the faithful shall abide with God in love, because grace and mercy are with God’s holy ones. This explains the radiance shining from Kathie’s face the last time I saw her. She saw the fulfillment of this promise. She trusted God and so she understood truth. She was faithful and so, in her last days, she was already living with God in love. She got it.
I want to get it, too. If Kathie could face this ultimate, final trial with such grace and faith and trust, then perhaps I can face my small trials with similar grace. I want to be strong and faith-filled and trusting. But I don’t know if I can live up to these words. Tonight I am just feeling small and weak and sad. Even in the midst of these feelings, though, I am finding comfort in a song that John played one day last week at Family Camp. It keeps running through my mind, over and over.
And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be. The light, for me tonight, is Kathie’s example of trust in God. She is one of the just, and as it says in tomorrow’s reading, she “shall shine and shall dart about as sparks through stubble.” I feel comforted by the synchronicity between the song, the scripture reading, and Kathie’s faith. Even in the sadness of tonight, I can feel the light of her love shining on me and bringing me peace. By following her example and her light, I can grow to be the person of grace that I long to be.