Light through the stained glass spills rust and red and orange on my grandpa’s bald head. As the organ plays “It Is Well With My Soul,” the preacher organizes his notes. Our family sits in the front pew, consumed with memories of Grandpa.
    Karl, we do not want you to be ignorant about your grandpa who has fallen asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
    They are good memories. I remember the explosion of laughter when Grandpa triumphantly slammed down “the birdie” in a Rook game. I remember A&W root beer floats. And darebase. And groaning as I completed one more pull-up with Grandpa’s encouragement.
    We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will resurrect your grandpa who has fallen asleep in Him.
    Grandpa planted a big garden, broke up fights, pulled the grandkids in his wagon, chuckled at jokes, and sparkled when the topic of conversation drifted to rock hunting.
    According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you, Karl, that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede your grandpa who has fallen asleep.
    He comes to mind when I smell Old Spice cologne and when I taste a really sour pickle. When I hear a squealing hearing aid, I can still hear him grumbling about those “lousy things.”
    For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and your grandpa will rise first.
    Grandpa’s fire (life) has gone out. But we who believe hold firmly to God’s promise that Grandpa will live again.
    After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with your grandpa in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore, Karl, encourage others with these words. (Adapted from 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, NIV.)
                                                                         – Pastor Karl