Rev. Leigh Boelkins Van Kempen
“We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14: 7-8)
As Resthaven’s chaplain, I have had the privilege of leading more funerals than I can count. Because our Care Community serves an older population, the reality is that a certain number of our residents will die. While death occurs with less frequency at the Warm Friend and at Maple Woods, it does happen. And for most of our Care Center residents, it will be their last home before they die.
It is this truth that makes me grateful that I serve in an organization with a Christian mission to provide care that demonstrates the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. We very publicly demonstrate this faith commitment when we offer hymn sings and Bible studies, Sunday worship services and Bible trivia. But this deep faith is communicated in very private, yet meaningful, ways as well.
This faith is communicated by the aide who prays with a resident when she is restless or fearful. This faith is communicated by the volunteer who sits at the bedside singing hymns. This faith is communicated by a housekeeper who helps a resident read his church bulletin. This faith is communicated by our professional staff who offer reassurance, comfort and a non-anxious presence to residents and their family members during the challenging final days of a life.
The Romans passage quoted above is one I read frequently at funerals, because it offers comfort to the family members gathered to grieve and remember. But it is also reassuring to all of us still living, loving and serving Jesus Christ. Whether we live, or whether we die, we are the Lord’s!