Service for the departed
Author: Bishop M. Wagner
The first Sunday in July brings us the second service for the departed of our Church year. This service is not only a reverent remembering of the souls who have left this earthly life but an opportunity for us to understand their soul’s conditions and reflect upon their desire to accept the offer of Christ’s salvation available to them. Christ’s sacrifice and the sacraments of Holy Baptism with water and the Spirit, in our Christian faith, are bestowed upon the believing souls during these special divine services.
Let us address two emotions—grief and regret—that are often a reality at the death of a loved one, but from a different vantage point—theirs. These feelings are very real in the soul and are carried from time into eternity. They are not only experienced between us here on earth and in the beyond but it is also understood by Jesus Christ.
Our Chief Apostle Schneider spoke about these feelings recently: “Christ knows each one in yonder world and forgets no one. He shares their feelings. He knows what it means to be separated from those He loved. He can understand when we suffer because of separation between the living and the dead ones.”
He goes on to face the regret of having missed something while they were here on earth. “Jesus gives you (those who have passed on) the assurance, even if you missed something during your life on earth, even if you miss each other, you will not miss anything for your salvation.”
This is a solid reassurance that this offer of grace is within the grasp of all souls in the beyond. May this day be one we can all experience in unity at the altar of Christ and in spirit where the living Apostles celebrate the sacraments of the triune God.