Words and phrases often obtain more than one meaning or sense. A young couple sat on a bench enjoying a sunny October morning. They often looked up no doubt reflecting on what they read or the beauty of their surroundings. Read More
No matter how we plan for eventualities we learn that life is arbitrary. That is another way of saying that despite what we plan life does not always follow our script. What we take heart in is that amidst the arbitrariness of life, God is not. Our week began with a family’s plans taking a decidedly sad turn. It is not that death is a surprising human experience. But, we may be surprised when death comes.
Over the years of pastoring the varied experiences that contain the realization of human mortality prompt deep reflections. Most concern with how we talk about that event, the life of our friends who die, what we say to encourage those most deeply affected. We pastors often fall prey to trite sayings, platitudes that have not basis in our understanding of how God’s world, now and then, work.
Today is one of those days for deep reflection. And as I do, I pray a family full of friends find cause to be someone as much as they follow the normal course to find cause to believe something.
Often when we lose a loved on to death we console ourselves with talk of “eternal destinies.” You would expect as much from a Pastor. But, I confess that most of my thoughts have been about living not dying.
It is not that I am in denial. After all, Dad and I were sitting there in Nan’s room and observed she had stopped breathing. Nurses confirmed what we were certain of. After more than 95 years Nan was no longer with us.
No one is perfect and though my memories may prefer such, what I really think about is the way Nan lived in front of us. Never afraid of an opinion and always faithful even when it may have made more sense to do something different.
To say that Nan was meticulous would be an understatement. Tommy and Jason bought her house. Last month the hot water tank went out. On the door frame of the closet where the hot water tank sat was the date it was installed.
Every gift she received was dated along with a note reminding her who it was from. When we would go on vacation, she would track each fishing expedition. Nan would record the number of fish, who caught the biggest, and what the weather was like. Her journals would be an observers dream. Read More
Ryan N called me Monday evening. “Have you read Rob Bell’s new book?” I had just finished it a few days earlier. But, I have been reading the wildly divergent opinions about the book since “before” the book was released by HarperOne.
I find that many people prefer to lock into one voice. That is, if their selected authority “speaks” about a subject it is as if the position is closed for all time. I have been helped by the varied responses. Even the ones I find uncharitable. It is often far too easy to believe we, the reader, always understand every possible nuance.
We need multiple reflections on a subject. Inevitably we will be helped to think through matters we would have overlooked, challenged by those we thought had long since been in the background, and prodded to dig a bit deeper.
The need for these reflections reminded me of this shot I took some months back.