11/22/21 Devotional from Ed
November 22, 2021
Text: John 12:24: Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Devotional: The losses we experience in life are real and personal, and each carries its own significance. In yesterday's family class, we discussed how grief is directly related to attachment - strong attachment equals strong grief when something or someone dies.
In 2021, we lost many members of our church family. And, many in our church family lost extended family members or friends, too. As we enter the holidays, a time that no doubt will be challenging and not particularly joyful for many this year, may we give thanks to God and draw strength from the fruits we have received from the lives of those who are no longer with us.
One theologian writes, "Dying becomes the way to everlasting fruitfulness. Here is the most hope-giving aspect of death. Our death may be the end of our success, our productivity, our fame, or our importance among people, but it is not the end of our fruitfulness. In fact, the opposite is true: the fruitfulness of our lives shows itself in its fullness only after we have died. We ourselves seldom see or experience our own fruitfulness. Often we remain preoccupied with our accomplishments and have no eye for the fruitfulness of what we live. But the beauty of life is that it bears fruit long after life itself has come to an end.
He continues, "This is the mystery of Jesus' death and of the deaths of all who have lived in his Spirit. Their lives yield fruit far beyond the limits of their short and often localized existence. Years after my mother's death, she continues to bear fruit in my life."
May we give thanks for the lives of all who have become before us yet continue to give each of us a "rich harvest."
Prayer: Dear God, as we approach the holidays, keep us mindful of those who are grieving. And for those who will look across the table and see an empty seat, comfort them. May they feel an assurance of your presence each day. Amen.
Work Cited: Nouwen, Henri. Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring. (New York: HarperCollins, 1994), 38-39.