Posted by: District Evangelist Mike Wildfong

Service for the Departed always stirs up different emotions for many, including myself. The emotion for a loved one that is no longer with us is felt very deeply.  Some experience a deep sense of loss; this comes from a deep love and the closeness we had with our departed loved one.  Others have a deep sense of regret and guilt; this may be felt as a result of not following through with plans to do more or say more to our departed loved one.  Some also have a deep sense of love and joy; this is felt due to a greater understanding, knowing our loved ones are still with us in prayer and the divine services.

In all three situations, the common theme is our “love for those who are no longer with us.” We are happy to pray and intercede for them as it states in our Catechism 9.6.1, it is easy to pray for them because of our nearness to them.

But our Service for the Departed is so much more. It is a message of love for souls we do not know as well.  Christ showed love to those, who when looked upon by the general public, did not deserve His love or attention. That was the general public’s view. However, we learn in John 9: 2-3 that Christ looked at every sinner as a soul to be saved!

At the end of the day, Christ’s sacrifice was so that all mankind could be saved. That is where we can do our part. We can extend a message of love for those souls who have no one to pray for them; to show love and compassion for the sinner as Christ did. Remember, Christ said “…love your neighbour as yourself.” Matthew 22: 39.

When we think about it, we all sin and we all desire forgiveness; it is the grace of God that makes it possible for us and for the souls in the realms of the departed.  Our part is to take time to intercede through our prayers for all, exemplify Christ’s love in us and extend the message of love to all souls.