I was so proud of my Sunday school class the other day that I cried and needed a minute to continue speaking. We’ve had four funerals at our church this past month, two in one week. All of these people were men and women of God who faithfully attended our church. I joined my dad attending the fourth service for two reasons. First, I knew the wonderful woman who passed, although not for long. I knew her son better since he is on staff at our church. Second, my mother was out of town and I thought Daddy might need some support. Funerals are hard, no matter how you look at them. At least this was a women who’d celebrated 53 years of marriage to the same man and welcomed children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She loved the Lord and served faithfully at church her whole life. The day of her funeral, those who prepared the food for the family missed her normal place in the kitchen with them. Still, there is hope and joy in the funeral of someone who knew the Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We know they have been released from pain and suffering and have gone into the arms of their Savior (John 14:1-6; Luke 23:43). I saw one of the second-graders from my Sunday school class at that funeral. She and her mom moved to sit with us and the Minister to Senior Adults. The adult talk around us, in addition to remembering the lady who passed, focused on how hard it was to lose so many friends about the same time. The Minister to Senior Adults said all the funerals “really wares on a person.” Thinking about that later gave me an idea which my co-teachers loved. Sunday morning I came with several sympathy cards. I’d written the following in each one:
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4 (NIV) Second Grade Sunday School Class You are in our thoughts and prayers. We love you! Nancy Ruth
As the kids came to class that Sunday morning, each was encouraged to sign and draw a picture in the sympathy cards. (The other teachers wrote short notes and signed them too.) We had a bunch of big paper flowers left over from VBS the week before, so I asked the kids to each pick one to give with the cards at our presentation. One of my co-teachers took one card and flower to put in the mailbox of the staff member who had lost his mom. The rest of us worked out how we would present the rest. Each kid wanted to say something, so we assigned roles. Then we quietly walked down to the senior adult department opening where all their classes were gathered. The kids in my class took turns standing on a chair in front of the microphone to each say one sentence of our presentation:
“We are the second grade Sunday school class.” “We came to say hi.” “I’m sorry your friends died.” “We love you.” “We are praying for you.”
Choked up, I explained that this class loves to encourage other people. We had heard about the recent deaths and wanted to bring a little smile and encouragement. Then my co-teacher prayed for the group and the kids delivered cards and paper flowers to the teachers of each of the senior adult classes. They thanked us and we left to go back to class. One gentleman caught us in the hallway. With tears streaming down his face he thanked us. It was so exciting, he said, to see young people who love the Lord and think of other people. I was pretty proud of them too.
“Be joyful with those who are joyful. Be sad with those who are sad.” Romans 12:15 (NIRV)
UPDATE: This happened about a month ago and I am still hearing comments on how much it meant to people there that day. Never underestimate the impact children can make.