Last Saturday, I attended a homegoing celebration. A goodbye roast for a good man. I have heard preachers talk about 2 Corinthians 5:8 which says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And prior to Saturday I understood this to mean that once you die you will be in His presence. I understood that the body is the shell that houses the spirit. I know that once the shell stops breathing, the body dies. The spirit of the man however does not die. This spirit becomes transformed into another form. I would like to be able to take a peek and see where my spirit will dwell.
When I was at this funeral; this homegoing celebration for a man 57 years old who everyone loved, I got it. I got that we are really supposed to celebrate because his spirit has left his body and is now in a place of constant peace. He walks with the angels, he talks with his relatives long passed, he fellowships with his son who died before him. We, as a community, are called to celebrate that transition even though we mourn for the body; we know he is happy. He is in a place where there is no pain and where grace is sufficient. His spirit is home, we bury the shell which has released the spirit. Once this spirit is released it joins with the many others to provide a hedge of protection around each and everyone of us still left on the earth.
I believe we see them when we need them as a cool breeze on an otherwise warm day, in the parking space that just opened up, in the doctor's office where the report is clean and when we kiss a baby at night when they are sleep and silently snoring; we need them when we see them. There was singing and clapping and tears and joy and remembrances of good times and a constant influx of goodwill for him from men. Men who understood that the deepest and most intense relationship a person must have is with God. Everything else falls into place. I know he got that. I know he entered into His gates with thanksgiving. The church was joyful. The church was sorrowful. He touched so many lives and those lives felt the need to come and pay him tribute and to let his wife know that he was loved. To be able to go home is indeed a good thing. To be able to go home and be welcomed by family is just what he received a few weeks ago - a good old fashionned homegoing celebration. On behalf of me and my family, God bless you and your family. Amen.