“Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven…” Matthew 5:12
An elderly woman who had been given only months to live met with her priest to make plans for her funeral. With dignity and grace, she calmly and happily discussed her favorite hymns and the scriptures she would like in the service, even going so far as to mention being buried with her childhood Bible.
After making note of her requests, and then offering a prayer, the priest stood up to leave. “There’s one more thing,” she interrupted, holding up a finger.
The priest sat back down. “Yes?”
“This is very important,” the woman went on. “I want to… I need to… be buried with a fork in my right hand.”
Of course, this surprised the priest. “I’m sorry… did you say a fork?”
The woman nodded her head and grinned as she began her explanation. “In all my years of attending our church dinners, I always remember when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ That was my favorite part because I knew even though the dinner had been lovely, something better was coming… like chocolate cake or apple pie. Something wonderful was coming!”
The priest smiled with tears in his eyes as she continued. “So, at the end of my lovely life, I just want people to see me there with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, ‘What’s with the fork?’. Then, in your homily, you can tell them what I’m telling you now. Remind them not to feel bad for me, because I’m prepared. And I know, the best is yet to come.”
Romans 8:11 reminds us of this. “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will bring your mortal bodies to life also, through his Spirit dwelling in you.”
There is no better time than today for us all to remember this promise, this certainty. The best is, indeed, yet to come.
Watering the Seeds
Do you know someone who faced difficulty in life, even death, with such assurance as this?
What was it about that special person that made them so memorable?