Stories From the Field

Mournful and Joyful

Last year at this time I had to tell the choir director at our downtown mother church that I couldn’t sing on Sunday, since I had been in England the week before and a virus was spreading. One year later I attended choir practice and found out that one of my fellow sopranos had passed away due to COVID-19.  I was told by her best friend: “I don’t know what to do without her, but…” she shrugged her shoulders. And we found our choir binders and sat in our slightly more spaced chairs and waited for practice to begin. 

The next week I found out that one of our English Club members—a believer with doubts and fears—had passed away in the hospital due to complications from COVID-19. And our club mourned. He was younger than Villi, having only turned 40 in January. 

March was bookended by the births of the Sale’s third child and the Hoot’s second. As our team cared for the siblings during hospital stays, we rejoiced in healthy babies and mothers, new people to love, and in seeing God’s faithfulness and creativity in these tiny humans!  

On March 12th, we held our first membership class for New Life Church, and two of the people from our seeker Bible study attended. 

These losses, these new lives—be they through birth or being born again—are equal parts mournful and full of joy. We do not “mourn like those who have no hope” though we certainly mourn the presence of our friends. But I am reminded very much right now that “To live is Christ and to die is gain.”