The plan was to go up north the first week of April and intern my mother’s ashes. Frost on the ground, muddy roads in the cemetery and, of course, foul weather have all put a hold on that event. I will admit I am upset by this. It is an important part of putting closure on my mom’s life here on earth. Then it dawned on me (I should have realized this earlier, I am a pastor) but she is not here, she is in heaven.
Sometimes we focus so much on the physical reality that we forget the promise of the spiritual one. My mom is in heaven and that is the truth. God says so and I believe it to be so. Lots of money, effort, and emotion goes into remembering those loved ones who have died. We have roadside memorials for those who were killed in a highway accident. We have bumper stickers with the date of the life of our loved ones. We have cemetery markers that sometimes are quite massive.
But they are not here. All these things are for us and still, we forget the greatest symbol of all: the empty cross. Easter is our reality for Christians. Heaven is ours through Christ. God’s love in Jesus is more powerful than death. My mom and all those ones we have lost are not here. Whether they are a straight line to heaven or waiting for the return of Christ, resurrection is our promise, our hope, our reality.
Eventually, we will put mom’s ashes in the ground. Both my wife and I want to be cremated when we die. She wants to be planted with a tree. I want my ashes cast upon the lake where I grew up. Whatever the location for the ashes the promise is heaven, this is our hope, this is God’s promise and God does not break God’s promises.