Monday morning, August 9th (2021) brought news to the church that our former administrative assistant, Christine Graves, had been granted eternal life after a prolonged illness. Back in April, she had moved to Texas to be with her sons and their families, as the condition she struggled with had worsened. While hope had reigned that this move could help her receive what she needed to save and prolong her life, it was the Lord’s will to call her to Himself at this time.
But what our Lord – and the joy of life eternal has gained, we have lost. And it wasn’t just someone who helped oversee any number of office projects and decisions the last few years. Christine was a real jewel – someone who spent her life in the Christian faith.
Growing up in the Chicago area, she quickly gained an appreciation of what it meant to be Lutheran. She learned all the Bible stories, but ultimately what the real purpose behind those stories were, as the people of faith eventually saw the heart and source of their faith come into this world, then give up His life for the world. And since growing up in the church also meant singing – a lot – it seemed only natural that, when she moved here, she would become active in the choir as well.
But we also remember something that Chris would insist on being said: she was a sinner in need of the forgiveness offered by Jesus Christ through the cross. And now, having been cleansed by His blood, she joins the company of saints and angels in the joy of life eternal.
In that joy, we are left to feel the satisfaction of knowing she has left all her difficulties behind her. But we also smart with the loss of someone who genuinely wanted to be a part of the church and everything it was working with and through. There were many days in the last months where Chris was anything but at her best – and there were times she came to work when she probably should not have.
But a Savior who sacrificed all for us, placed in her, through the power of the Spirit, a dedication and zeal for the Lord’s work. And that love and devotion was contagious – it guided me and everyone in the office to embrace excellence in all we did, and to reflect that love in what was shared with the people.
There were others before her, and there are already others after her. But I use this to remind us that each of us is unique – and with the time we are given in this world, we are to use that uniqueness to share Christ’s love and the news of what He has done for us.
I now share with you a link to a brief farewell ceremony that was held for her the final time she worshiped with us in early April. https://www.dropbox.com/s/c9t87u6cezbbspj/20210403_181645.mp4?dl=0
God bless the family of Christine Graves – and the family of faith here in New Port Richey that mourns her passing.