“…the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to the springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
We aren’t there yet. We stand on this side of death. And today, this All Saints Day, we remember those who have crossed over. We remember our loves and we weep fresh tears.
Last year, in a search for solace in the midst of my own grief, I wrote this:
He was twenty-three when he was murdered by another young man his age. I had loved him fiercely since he was eight years old. Everything about Pepe’s presence was large: his huge smile, his booming voice, his boisterous laughter, his big feet. He came to me yesterday in my dreams, alive and well, as the Day of the Dead dawned in Mexico. For a moment in the clouds, I was blissfully unaware that he has already made the passage to the other side.
I woke to a different reality. He’s gone and everything about his death embodies injustice: poverty, abandonment, violence.
What is our hope?
On the Greek island of Patmos, John saw a vision of the ages and the end. It was a revelation of the Alpha and the Omega, the One that was and is and is to come. It was a revelation of God’s promises for the saints.
“Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” They are those from every nation, tribe, people, and language. They have come out of the great ordeal, “they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,” and they stand before God’s throne.
There, they worship God, and there, they are comforted. The slaughtered Lamb himself will be their shepherd. Hunger and thirst will be no more. Christ will lead them to life and “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
There is joy that waits for us on the other side of all injustice. This is the abundant life on the other side of death for all the saints. We may weep now, but tomorrow we will hear shouts of laughter louder than Pepe’s. Tomorrow will come soon enough. Today it is enough to remember.