Focus for the Week: Confession and Reconciliation
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. –John 14:27
In June, after my father’s funeral, my cousin Dwight was helping me load my car. While we were making one trip, I mentioned that at the end of February when my sweet mother-in-law Wanda died, I had wakened up in the middle of the night because I felt someone in the room. I turned on the light to see who it was but found only a sense of a beautiful, peaceful, happy presence, cool air and light. I knew it was Wanda’s spirit passing. It allowed me time to pray and wish her well and be grateful for her role in our family. Wanda’s three-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease had left her in peace. When Mike called home from Raleigh at 6:00 am to tell me she had passed, I told him I already knew.
I had hoped for some similar experience when Dad died, 3½ months later, but did not have one, and told Dwight that I was trying not to think about it. The next morning, after getting both kids to the airport for trips and going to church, I had an email from Dad’s second cousin, someone I correspond with infrequently. She recounted a dream she had the night Dad died. She dreamt of Dad following the voices of his family through the clouds as he cussed and fussed, disoriented and confused, not sure where he was or which direction he should be heading. I will skip most details but will share the image of heaven’s Welcome Table offered in her dream:
He was then led to a huge, long dining table that seemed to go on for miles, jammed-packed with relatives and old friends he needed to see/meet. The tables were full of peaches, corn, tomatoes, doves, and everything he could possibly imagine. He was completely overwhelmed. Somehow he knew I was watching from another place. I couldn’t hear him speak except through a “mind/thought” transmission process. I could hear him think “I have finally arrived, and it doesn’t get any better than this” … and he told me, “I promise to save you a seat.” He also said, “I hope that Jesus and God will forgive my transgressions to everyone I love but know that I am happy here and fully healed in every way.”That glimpse of God’s welcome table, of healing in a way impossible on earth, offered peace and closure, a personal glimpse of what a room in God’s mansion might be like, open and welcoming for sinners like Dad, sinners like me. Sometimes God offers peace to us through the experience of someone else. We carry a responsibility to seek God’s kingdom on earth each and every day, and in whatever way we can, we are to share the peace of Christ with one another, even when it makes us vulnerable. My peace I give you, not as the world gives.
Prayer: Thank you, God, for being ever-present in times of transition and for offering peace and forgiveness, gifts not of this world. Amen.
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