Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In Memory of My Brother

Peter Anthony Mitchell
July 29 1956 - June 12 2011

There are many things we could say about Peter. He was a character, to be sure. He loved a good joke, was a whiz at Scrabble and Geography, and loved watching Hockey Night in Canada. He loved his kids, and he loved his brothers and sisters. He had many struggles, to be sure, throughout his life, and didn't make the best choices many times. We know that many people loved him, prayed for him, and tried to help him to overcome his battles. It's hard to believe we won't be hearing from him again, or seeing him.Those of us who knew and loved him will cherish his memory in our hearts. We thank God for the grace that He gave to Peter during his lifetime.

When a loved one dies, it is such a final thing. They are no longer living, breathing, and walking among us. We no longer hear their voice, or see them, or include them in our plans. It is a great sense of loss. It is natural to wonder where they are now. Some people might look at Peter's life and think that perhaps he didn't go to heaven. After all, he broke the law. He spent time in jail. He drank too much, and didn't live quite the morally upstanding life that many others have. Still, others might look at his life, his struggles, and conclude that surely God would take pity, and take him to Heaven. But the reality is that it doesn't work either of those ways. The Bible says that there is no one who is righteous, or good, and that we have all sinned. Every one of us. God is a holy God, and He hates sin. Not one of us can earn His favor, or Heaven, by our own merits. We need a Saviour, we need Jesus Christ. All of us. Not just the Peters of this world, the ones with deep rooted struggles, but even the socially acceptable, kind hearted, morally upright people. Apart from turning from our sins and turning to God, apart from trusting in Jesus Christ to save us, none of us has any hope, we all stand condemned.

God offers hope. Those of us who remain here have a hope. The life we live on earth is so short, so temporary, but there is an eternity that awaits each of us. God speaks hope to us in the Bible, and has some wonderful things to say:

"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'for we also are His children.' Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 18:24-31)

"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)

Peter, you were loved.