As I began preparing for this week’s message, the church and community of Belwood, Lawndale, and Fallston has been, yet again, dealing with the heartache that comes with grieving the loss of loved ones. This past week was a first for me within my role as a pastor, and in my life … I saw a child of God take their final breath here on this earth. I was reminded in that moment at how each and every breath we take is so special, so precious, and so sacred. In the moment in which the transition occurred, however, I knew and felt and overwhelming sense of peace. But, I would be remiss if I didn’t say it scared me. Yes, the pastor was scared. Why? Because I could see in the face of family members: a wife, sons, brothers, etc., the need for an explanation, an empty unknowing feeling I could see in their eyes. I was scared because I didn’t know what to say, what to pray, how to fill their void … and it was then I knew, through God’s grace, it wasn’t my place to do so. So, we held hands in silence, and we thanked God. As tears flowed down their cheeks, I thought about my own family; and that scared me too.
This Sunday concludes a summer sermon series using Disney animated movies. “Up” was the finale feature, and it really hits home in how precious and how beautiful each and every moment is that we have with each other. In the first five minutes of the movie, we the see the transition of two love-birds go through life’s adventures, growing old together, and one passing away without concluding their “bucket list” together. When I first saw the movie, it did bring tears to my eyes because, essentially, we cannot take out time for granted: we must always do what we feel called to do in that very moment. I look back and thing about the times I have taken life for granted, the times where I wanted to be like the main character Carl and fly away in house with thousands of balloons, the times where it feels so easy to run away than to face life head-on: knowing God’s powerful Holy Spirit in every moment.
Death … it’s not easy, and it comes in all different types: tragic, long and drawn-out, physical, mental. Death also comes in the transitions within our lives: jobs, old/new homes, moving, graduation, and relationships. None of these are easy, all of them are scary, and some can be quite cathartic. And so, I have been encouraged, and I encourage you, this day and into the future, to make each moment with your loved ones the best they can be … and make it often. Because we never know the day nor time when death, in whatever form, may take place and lead us upon another journey.
May we all be at peace, may we all take comfort, and may we all join together in knowing God’s compassion, mercy, and love for each and everyone of us in whatever place we may be found today.
- There Will I Be Composer: Craig Courtney; Publisher: Beckenhurst Press, Inc. 5:33