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In August, I went to Dallas to officiate my brother

Michael’s memorial service/celebration of life service. I

never imagined having to officiate something like for a

member of my own family, but when asked, I couldn’t

refuse, was sure I wasn’t supposed to refuse. I searched

and prayed through the “standard” scriptures for these

sorts of occasions, but nothing seemed to speak God’s

heart to me for me, my family, or Mike’s friends and

loved ones.

Many of his friends reached out to me to share

condolences, to share stories. They “friended” me on

Facebook and many of their posts echoed sentiments of

grieving the loss of their friend, being separated too soon.

It spoke of this passage from Romans to me. Nothing can

separate us from God’s love. Because this is true, then we,

who are bound together by God’s Holy Spirit, God’s love

for us binds us together – nothing can separate us – not

death nor life. Suddenly, I understood The Great Cloud

of Witnesses in a way that made perfect sense. The Great

Cloud of Witnesses exists because nothing can separate

us from God’s love.

It also made clear to me something I’ve neglected to

hold up as important. Love exists permanently and

eternally in the present tense. Love is. Love doesn’t exist

in the past tense because God IS love. Love is. There is so

much hope, freedom, promise, joy, and redemption in that

simple (though mysterious) truth.

You see, the first verse of Romans 8 reads, “There is

no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Then in verse 38 we read, “And I am convinced that

nothing can ever separate us from God’s love...”. What

incredibly GREAT NEWS!!! Even when, maybe

especially when, our relationships are messy, imperfect,

even broken, God’s love still prevails. Whatever else

“was”, Love is. Whatever hurt, wound, lie, betrayal –

that can be released, let go, and forgiven, because LOVE

IS – love is the eternal present that allows for the past to

heal and be redeemed. We don’t have to be stuck in grief

or loss for those we love because they are not gone from

us – just gone from here, because LOVE IS.

We will experience calamity, pain, sickness, troubles,

difficulties, but as Romans assures us, that does not

mean God doesn’t love us. We will experience times of

joy, victory, success, health, abundance, but that doesn’t

mean God loves us more than others. Whatever season

we find ourselves in, those moments pass, but God’s love

for us never does. It never waivers, dims, weakens, or

dies. Whatever was, Love is.

In God’s Love,

Pastor Michelle

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