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Unwrapping the bonds

August 24, 2010
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So many things I think of wrapping up as we prepare to move in a month are not the things one can put in boxes. In fact, they are not the things one can wrap up at all. One cannot simply pack up and depart from eternal friends. I had prayed that God might be pleased to make it possible for me to say goodbye to a few friends at Vauna’s funeral, friends that I would likely not see again this side of glory; for Vauna was a friend from my former church, one we left more than seven years ago.

But I was on, I think, an even more sanctifying assignment: simply to attend from respect and love and require nothing for myself. The occasion was not staged for my providential convenience. I was not there to wrap up anything.

The whole service was like a preview of glory. The preaching brother likened Vauna’s passing, and God’s sovereign rightness in it, to God’s right to pluck his own beautiful flower from his own garden and bring it into his own house. On another occasion, I might have thought the analogy treacly, but here it was just right: lovely, and so very Vauna.

The chapel was full, probably to overflowing, all 350 seats taken, a full balcony, and people standing in the gallery. Instead of feeling pressed in the crowd, I thought what a lovely tribute it was from so many people whose lives Vauna had touched with so much grace and warmth and beauty. And I thought how small this number of people was, compared with the number of angels and saints that would ultimately greet each blunt-headed sinner whom God elected to salvation, even, so very strangely, me.

So I’ve given up wrapping up. I am leaving no one truly important to me behind whom I will not see again. Because, to purloin Arne’s expression, our bond is in the Lamb.

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