The snow fell today — like the dewfall — silently coating the world in a white soft blanket. Like a baptismal gown or a white funeral pall covering the casket, the snow seemed to wipe away the gray and darkness of the winter skies. Beautiful, silent, purifying and slowing down the world.
The perfect backdrop for a funeral. God wiped the world clean with snow as he welcomed home his son today. And while there were tears for the human loss, there was glory in the hope and love of God. And we were reminded of our call to love. The priest’s words still resonate in my ears and in my heart. As he praised the love and big heart of the man we lost, he encouraged the rest of us to “pray to have a big heart.” The priest went on to state that those who have a strong faith, can’t help but love. You cannot have one without the other. Something I had never thought about before, but as I thought about the people in my life who have a strong faith, their lives do brim with love. Love for God, love for their families and love for strangers. They have big hearts and they show it. It is not enough to simply claim faith, to simply claim to love God. When I opened the Bible this evening, it opened to Galatians:
For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
We are all called to love. Faith requires love. It is easy to love God. He is all powerful, He has given us everything, He is our salvation. It is harder to love our fellow man — what have they done for us? But true faith requires true love. God’s love. Love even when someone might not deserve it. Love even when someone hurts us. Love even when someone doesn’t show it back. Love in the good times and the bad. True love. Not just words. But actions. Indeed, the priest today reiterated that we must pray for that big heart — and then act upon it. It is not enough to simply say it. It is not enough to simply have a big heart. It is not enough to just have faith. We must act upon it. We are called to make Christ visible. To share His love.
As I read further in Galatians, it again echoed the message from today’s funeral:
Make no mistake: God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows, because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit. Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith.
We reap what we sow. Let us sow love. Let us act upon that love. While we have the opportunity (and today’s funeral is a reminder that we never know how long that opportunity will be), “let us do good to all,” especially those in our faith family.
Our friend is ready to reap his harvest. God’s white blanket of snow, purifying the earth before his body entered it, tells me that his harvest is good. I hope to one day be ready to reap mine.
Thank you for all of the people that you have blessed me with. I see your heart in so many of them. Through them I see how powerful and pure your love is. I am inspired and contrite. Lord, I pray for a big heart. Help me to love like you do. Help me to share your love with others. Help me to get out of my self and my own wants and needs, fears and desires, and live for others. Help me to act in love and faith with everyone I encounter. Help me to make your son visible to others. Thank you for renewing my spirit today, and wiping the world pure in snow.
O Lord, Create in me a pure heart and renew within me a steadfast spirit.