May 19 – Body and Soul, In Life and In Death

This week closes with a reminder of the great joy and comfort of the gospel.

The Heidelberg Catechism asks, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?”

We answer, “That I belong—body and soul, in life and in death—not to myself but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who at the cost of his own blood has fully paid for all my sins and has completely freed me from the dominion of the devil; that he protects me so well that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that everything must fit his purpose for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me of eternal life, and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”

Yes, this week closes with a reminder of the great joy and comfort of the gospel.  Body and soul, in life and in death, we belong not to ourselves, but to our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.

Pam and Casey Huckel, along with Mackenzie, Scarlett, and Felicity, welcomed Clementine Violet into their family on Tuesday.

Marilyn Franzi and her family said good bye to Marilyn’s mother, Betty, who died at age 94 on Thursday.

Clementine and Betty both belong to God.

We give thanks that Betty knew and long served her faithful Savior, for the ways she was wholeheartedly ready and willing to live for him.  In death as in life, Betty belongs to Jesus Christ.  The salvation that God purposed for Betty from before she was born is now fully realized.  Betty stands before the throne of God beholding face to face the one who “will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” For Betty, “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

When we gather on June 8 to remember Betty’s life and to pray God’s comfort for Marilyn and the family, we will also declare our sure and certain hope in the resurrection from the dead in Christ Jesus.  Our prayer will be confident, “Acknowledge, we humbly pray, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming.”  He is the Good Shepherd; he knows his own and his own know him.

In a few months we will gather in the same place where we will have gathered on June 8, this time in Lord’s Day worship as Casey and Pam bring Clementine to the waters of baptism.  Pam and Casey will confess their abiding faith in Christ and promise, in dependence on the grace of God, to bring up Clementine in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  As the water splashes on Clementine’s head, we will hear the words of the Beloved Disciple, “See what love the Father has for us that we should be called children of God, and indeed we are.”

At the baptism of an infant, the congregation also makes promises “to tell this child the good news of the Gospel, to help her know all that Christ commands, and, by their fellowship, to strengthen her family ties with the household of God?”  So promising, we will commit ourselves until Casey and Pam and Clementine to sometime in the early 2030s  and then beyond when Clementine makes her own confession of faith, having met the Good Shepherd in family devotions and Bible Studies, Sunday School and worship, Vacation Bible School, and around potluck tables. He is the Good Shepherd; he knows his own and his own know him.

Betty made and kept the same promises Pam and Casey will make and have made. The joy and comfort of the Gospel is in the reality that we are able to keep our promises because He who first promised is faithful