Hope in the Mourning

People make such profound marks on our lives. We are changed by those relationships, often pruned into stronger and more beautiful persons.  Last year, on Feb 23rd, one of those people in my life made the transition from earth to eternity.  His name is Cesar Muñoz, of Quetzaltenango in Guatemala.  He is the wife of Sonia; the father of Mariairene, Lucia and David. 

It was during a difficult time of the pandemic. I could not go to be with the family. I was not able to mourn with them in all the ways I wanted to share in their grief.  When the celebration of his life was held and a community gathered, though limited because of COVID, I celebrated from a very long distance – about 2300 miles away.  I shared this experience with thousands of people across the world who were burying and celebrating the lives of people they loved that ceased to be present on earth during this pandemic. 

Recently I was able to return to Guatemala and be with my family and friends who are still grieving the absence of husband, father, and friend. We told stories and cried tears. We went to the place where he was buried (an important ritual for me) and I was able to touch the place where he and other family members’ bodies rest in the earth. The time was sacred for all of us.

We are people of faith, so we speak words of hope at the site where these bodies lay. We speak of the fruit that remains from Cesar’s life and the anticipation of a joyful reunion that will one day come for us.  The stories we share here are blessings. Our spirits are strengthened.

Cesar was a friend and mentor. He was a partner in the work our church has the honor of being involved with @ ACD Guatemala.  He spoke wisdom into my life on numerous occasions and we shared many joys at his table.  And totally unexpectedly, we became family when my cousin married his daughter. At that time, the “family” we had been becoming through our shared work with God, became “officially” a family that united all of us forever.

Wedding planning, 2015
Feb 2022 Vona and Lucia @ ACD Guatemala
Aaron & Mariairene, 2015

Today I give thanks for Cesar’s life on earth and the impact he made on all of our lives. Every day we see the fruit that lasts from his time here. For all who have experienced death, grief and celebration of life during the time of this pandemic, I pray that you know that time and distance is nothing in the eyes of God. As you pray, as you mourn, as you laugh and cry and celebrate – it is all in perfect timing when our hearts and spirits are one in Christ.  I pray this brings you peace.

Cesar’s picture @ ACD Guatemala

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. – Jesus in the Gospel of John 15:16

God, thank you for the lives that so deeply touch ours and bless us. May your peace be with all who grieve, and may you continue to grant us all glimpses of eternity, so our hope remains steadfast and strong.  Thank you for the life of your people on earth! Give us humility and courage to serve in ways that bear the fruit that lasts…for your glory and not our own. Amen. 

Kari Jobe The Garden

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