As a church we suffered a terribly sad loss this week: the sudden and unexpected death of Lindy Zungu, a loving wife to Dunmore, and a mother of two small children. She was still in her early 30’s.
Lindy grew rapidly ill last Wednesday and was airlifted to St Georges Hospital. Sadly she was declared ‘medically’ dead on Thursday afternoon, her heart and lungs sustained only by a machine.
As a church many of us prayed for the family and we also prayed for a miracle. We were led in that so well on Sunday morning by Meg at the first meeting and by Eugene at the second. Sadly it was not to be.
On Monday morning Dean and I were with the family – several of whom belong to Welcome Church – as the artificial support to life was withdrawn. It was a privilege to stand with them all in these devastating but dignified moments.
Gathered at her bedside we prayed for Lindy and we remembered the hope we have in Jesus:
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” John 11v25-26
We also remembered the promises of God to us: resurrection, eternal life, a new body, new heavens and a new earth. He will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. We remembered that if our faith counts for anything it counts in moments like this. We grieve, but we do not grieve like those who have no hope.
After the support to life was withdrawn, with many tears, family members took turns to tell Lindy that they loved her … that they would help care for the family … that they would miss her. And after about 15 minutes she quietly and peacefully left us for her new life beyond this world.
Keeping our promises
We are a large enough church that not everybody can know everybody else. We are large enough that there is probably always going to be someone who is experiencing sadness or grief. In fact, this is not the only family in our church to experience a sad loss this week. Despite these things, a loss like this is exceptional. Even those who may not have been close to the family will feel it.
We are called to rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn – and sometimes we do both on the same day.
Last year, on Mother’s Day, we prayed for this family as they gave thanks to God for their new daughter. This Mother’s Day Lindy won’t be with us.
During that meeting, as we gave thanks for the many new babies, I asked us all a question as a church. These were the words I used:
“So far as you are able, will you commit yourselves, over the years ahead to be a strength and an encouragement to these children and a support to their parents in this crucial, God given role of parenting?”
We were then all invited to stand as a sign of agreement to this promise. And everybody present stood. So now we have a job to do.
This family have been part of our church for several years now. They belong. Now is our chance to stand by our promises and to be a help and support both to Dunmore and the children for as long as we are needed.