Colony of Heaven

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Due to poor medical care and violence, death seems to be more common in Honduras. In my first year here, I had been to more funerals than I had in my entire life.

But in the past 3 months we have had 5 people very close to our Signs of Love family die.
There’s no better way to say it, death sucks!
It was never part of God’s plan for His most precious creation. It causes the heart much grief and pain and because of the fall, it is everywhere.

Yesterday as we bumped down the dirt road littered with big dips and holes (from a particularly wet rainy-season this year) everyone in the van was struck by the newly blooming giant pink trees that were scattered throughout the hillside. They popped out in contrast to the landscape of green that surrounded them. It was interesting to think that just a couple months ago their limbs were stripped bare of any sign of life with the heavy rains and now they were full of beauty and life.

Three of the people that we said good-bye to these past several months were walking with Jesus. Their lives bore the fruit and light of a follower. Two of them to the best of our knowledge (unless they had a salvation moment on their death bed) didn’t know Jesus as Savior.

This has been a strong reminder to our team of why we are a part of this ministry, why we must be the Church!

Eugene Peterson put it well when he said, “So, why church? The short answer is because the Holy Spirit formed it to be a colony of heaven in the country of death…. Church is an appointed gathering of named people in particular places who practice a life of resurrection in a world in which death gets the biggest headlines. … The practice of resurrection is an intentional, deliberate decision to believe and participate in resurrection life, life out of death, life that trumps death, life that is the last word, Jesus life.”

The baked bread, the flowers, the photos, the interpretations of services, the hugs, the prayers, the tears, and a listening ear in themselves seem like small gestures. However, in the “colony of heaven” they spoke bold truths to those loved ones suffering loss in the “country of death.” YOU ARE SEEN! YOU ARE LOVED! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

And so as we celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus this past Sunday, it seemed a bit more personal thinking on “life that trumps death,” the resurrection that we share with Christ (Romans 6:5).

“According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5

We pray that as the Church, our lives would display the hope of God’s resurrecting power in us and in the places of our lives that feel hopeless, lost, and broken for the praises of His glory! His kingdom come is not only future, it is now!

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