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Dancing at a Funeral

They had been members of the same church for many years, and somewhere along the line they found each other.  They were both wonderful people, full of life, and full of faith, which they lived out in all kinds of ways.  The whole church watched and rejoiced with them when they realized, fairly late in life, that they loved one another and got married.  When they shared their desire to have a baby, the church prayed for them, and supported them and as they later underwent fertility treatments.  On the day the husband stood up and announced that they were going to have not one baby, but two, the congregation burst into applause.

Sadly, though, the babies were born before the pregnancy had reached its full term, and they lived only a few hours.  It was just long enough for the parents to hold them and give them the names they had chosen from the start, Abraham Joseph and Sarah Mary, names that express the fulfillment of God's promise.

The couple planned the funeral service with the pastor, and they asked if, at the end of the service, they might have someone play the song, "What A Wonderful World." It was a little unusual, but the pastor said of course they could.

It was an emotional service for everyone, and as the pastor gave the blessing at the end of the service, he saw the grief reflected in every face.  Then, as planned, someone hit the play button of a CD player and into the church floated the notes of "What A Wonderful World."

What happened next no one expected.  The husband rose to his feet and opened his arms.  His wife stood, too, and drew herself close to him ....  then, arm in arm, they danced.  They danced a dance of life clear across the chancel of that church, for they knew beyond any doubt that the kingdom of heaven is near....  and that nothing -- no heartache, no grief, no loss -- could separate them or their children from the love of God in Jesus Christ.

The kingdom of heaven has drawn near.  Repent!  In the deepest, fullest sense of the word, repent.  For the old life is gone and a new life has begun -- and we will never be the same.

- from a sermon by Kim Long