It is hard to know what to think or say following a sudden death.  Barb Milek passed away in her home yesterday.  She had been hospitalized with the flu recently, but she seemed to be getting better. Barb had various health problems over the years, but showed no indication of being fatally ill.  In the face of such unexpected loss, what is there to say?  Two phrases and quotes keep running through my mind.

“In the midst of life we are in death”

This phrase has been around for centuries, and it is preserved in the Committal portion of the Burial service in older versions of the Book of Common Prayer.  Even with the benefits and miracles of medical science, the veil between sickness and health, death and life is not as great as we would like to think.

I have been reminded of this reality throughout my ministry. Many, many times I have seen someone who didn’t seem to be doing well recover and return to health quickly. And sometimes, like Barb, I have seen someone who seemed to be in no danger pass away suddenly.  Even with ever increasing medical advances, it all remains a mystery. The separation between health and illness, life and death is small and fathomless. We fool ourselves to think otherwise, yet so much in our culture seems devoted to convincing us we are in control.  Life remains fragile, and there are some things beyond our ability to know or determine.

“Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Romans 14:8).

God has a much different view on death than we do, and it is this higher perspective Paul reminds us of in Romans 14: “If we live, we live for to Lord; and ifwe die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”  For Barb, who had a deep, vibrant faith she kept alive and growing, this is great news.  For us who are left behind mourning one who left us unexpectedly – we can only gaze and wonder at what Barb is now experiencing.  She now belongs to the Lord fully.

I know you will continue to hold Al and the entire family in prayer. I am sure there will be opportunities to provide tangible support to Al in the future and will keep you posted. We know he will need the love and help of all of us at CTR!

Breaking:  I just got word and can confirm that the service for Barb will be at CTR 11:00 am Monday. More information and details to come!

See you Sunday!