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The Final Word: Life with a Capital L

From the April 2010 issue of The Christian Science Journal

WHEN OUR DEAR CHURCH MEMBER and friend, former Christian Science Monitor reporter George Merry, passed on last summer, his sister asked if his memorial service could be held at our church. Our members felt that holding this service was the most natural thing in the world, especially since George had grown up in our church (Third Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston), had been a member for over 50 years, and as a public figure had many friends in the community. We felt that providing our church home as a refuge for family and friends—many of whom were not Christian Scientists—fit in with Jesus' instructions to "love one another" (John 13:34).

We didn't look at the service as a concession to death, but as an opportunity to come together as a community to celebrate Life. We loved the qualities George expressed—joy, peace, love, gentleness, wisdom, patience—and we understood that this is his spiritual identity, and that it is eternal. The Amplified Bible says: "The fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience ... kindness, goodness ... faithfulness, gentleness, (meekness, humility) .... Against such things there is no law" (Gal. 5:22, 23). To me this means that what we love in one another is spiritual and eternal, and cannot die. As Jesus showed, death is not the final word. Loving and supporting one another by continuing to know this truth felt a part of our church's mission to help turn thought from the darkness of death to the eternality of life created by God.

Some of George's relatives lived far away and were not able to make the trip. We set up a conference call so that those who couldn't get to the service could participate. Everything worked beautifully. George's sister and brother-in-law, who lived in another state, were able to hear the service, as well as other friends and family unable to make it to the church.

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