I’ll never forget visiting the hospital after Jane’s valve replacement surgery. You don’t know what to expect following surgeries. Sometimes they go well—most times they go well, sometimes they don’t. The transformation, though great, wasn’t what stands out in my mind. No, what stands out in my mind is the two of them, Harry and Jane, sitting knee to knee, like high-school crushes, gushing with love for each other. Their love was so strong, you could feel it just walking into the room.
In fact, their love for each other showed in everything they did. Sitting together in the living room, watching Charles Price on T.V. Jane making sure she was home in time to make lunch for ‘the boys’ every day. Receiving Harry’s loving care for her, walking around in the basement when the weather was too cold, or too wet, or too snowy. Harry, you said the hardest thing about your heart attack was that it meant you couldn’t do the things you do for Jane, because you loved her so much.
Looking at their love was like looking at a picture of God’s love for his people. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, marriage is a picture describing God’s relationship with his people. We see pictures of God’s love, expressions of God’s love in the relationships we have with our spouses, in the relationships we see in our parents, aunts and uncles. Occasionally, God raises up a couple as a living example of His love. The two become one flesh, they belong to each other.
In marriage, there’s a sense of belonging, of belonging to another. It is one of the chief comforts of the Christian faith. The sense of belonging, belonging to Jesus.
When we reflected on
One of Jane’s favourite writings is Q&A 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism, which asks, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” It wastes no time getting to the heart of the matter, does it? It addresses the deepest question human beings ask. What’s the one thing that gives comfort in our lives?
It is belonging. When you belong to someone, as Harry belonged to Jane, as Jane belonged to Harry, there’s comfort. Harry will be the first to tell you that there were bumps along the way, not to mention the health difficulties Jane struggled with to the end. But they belonged to God and they belonged to one another. describes this as being chosen, being predestined to belong to God, for the praise of his glory.
Jane possessed a mischievous side; which you could tell by the gleam in her eye. She had a quick wit, and a joyful spirit. She loved singing in the choir, which seems surprising since she was a very shy person. She loved, loved to sing. Oh how she loved blasting her 8-track Gospel music, singing along whilst doing the dishes. You know how it is when you pull up to a light and the car beside you has the music so loud you can hear and feel it in your own vehicle? That’s what it was like pulling into the driveway. You could hear and feel Jane’s music in your car!
Jane’s true constant, was Jesus. Oh, make no mistake, Harry was rarely far away, but Jane knew, knew deeply in her heart that she belonged to Jesus. She knew that all her sins, all her mistakes, everything was paid for by Jesus. She simply accepted it, trusted it, and lived it. She was a free person.
Because she belonged to Jesus, she had Jesus’ Spirit within her. She needed no flashyness, no glitter, no glamour. She was simply Jane. Jesus’ friend Jane. She lived simply in the assurance of Christ’s loving sacrifice for her. She accepted his love, his gift of grace, and she praised him for it.
One of her deepest longings of late was to become well enough to attend worship at church. She longed to be together with God’s people, to enjoy the fellowship of being present with each other. Not having to talk or do anything, but simply be. To ascribe to God the praise of his glory. To be held tight in the arms of God, through the presence of his Holy Spirit.
God didn’t grant her wish to return to worship in this life. Instead, he gave her something far better. He brought her home to join in with the saints in heaven, singing praise to her precious, faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.
In that truth she lived. In that truth she died. Certain of where and to whom she was going.
That’s the good news. On this day of grief, of mourning, there’s good news. There’s hope, hope in Jesus Christ. Hope in being able to see our loved ones again.
Do you have it? Have you received it? Are you living in it?
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. That’s what Jane wanted you to know today. Trust in him, and you’ll belong to him as she did. The love that she and Harry shared, God gives to you. His is a greater love, a deeper love. His is a commitment that because you belong to him, he will never, ever let you go. Receive Christ today. Give him your life, your sins, your shortcomings, everything. Receive the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing the inheritance God has for you, the inheritance that Jane has already received!
Harry, Veronica and Ron, Dave and Monica, Ray and Michelle, Jane’s grandchildren, siblings, extended family and friends, grieve and mourn. Celebrate and remember the blessing she was to you, to all of us. In the presence of the Holy Spirit who assures us of everlasting life, look forward to the day when we too will be with our saviour, we all will be reunited with those who, like Jane, have gone on before us. Amen.