Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘death’

What Do You Believe?


happy-easter-religious-cross-banner

Terminal or Eternal?

T ime on
E arth is not
R evolving.
M inutes spent
I n mortality
N ever repeat.
A lways spend each one
L ovingly and joyfully.

Time on earth is terminal.

Some believe in a revolving door called reincarnation, believing they’ll return as another person if the good deeds they do in this lifetime do not raise their karma above the 50% mark. Reincarnation becomes a chance to try it again. Be better, kinder, more loving and more wise the next time around, and eventually the Karmic Board will judge you worthy. Your life will tip the Karmic Scale and you’ll earn the right to resurrection and life in Eternity.

Others believe when this terminal life as a human being is over, they’ll return as a creature. They talk about what it might be like to come back as a family pet or as a bee, a bird, or a lion.

Acknowledging that life on earth is terminal, some think that this is all there is. When we die, that’s it. From dust we come; to dust we will return. No reincarnation. No resurrection. No nothing. What a bleak, meaningless existence that must be!

As for me, I believe life on earth is terminal. I don’t believe I’ll return as another person. I don’t see myself coming back in the form of another earthly creature. But, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this brief earthly life is not all there is. I want to live in love and peace, to spread joy and hope, and to serve my Maker and others. But, I don’t live giving out blessings because I think I’m earning the right to live eternally. I don’t serve to rack up points and move a notch closer to God in Heaven in the “After-Life.” My place already has been secured. I serve out of gratitude, hopefully with an attitude of generosity – grateful for the fact that the price was paid. Paid by God’s Son.

That’s what Easter is all about. It’s not bunnies and colored eggs, frilly new dresses, fancy hats, and patent leather shoes. It’s about a Man named Jesus, a span of three years of ministry on earth, teaching us how to live and how to treat one another, and a forty day period we call Lent. Lent is the time when Jesus was accused, tried, convicted for our sins, beaten, crucified on a cross, and buried in a tomb. Because He died with, “Father, forgive them,” on His lips, I am assured of my forgiveness. I know because He rose again, and because He lives, and because He promised, “I go to prepare a place for you,” when my terminal life on earth is over, I will take that place in Eternity reserved for me. My soul will live on. This is not the end.

This is what I believe. Easter assures me. This life is only the beginning.

Hallelujah! Happy Easter!

Called Toward Wholeness


Heart made of sand

Heart made of sand

Reflecting on the rejuvenation of Lazarus.
Bemoaning the death of a dear friend this week:

Jesus, the Healer, reached out.
He felt the pain of parting.
He would gift wholeness and healing.
But first, sorrowful tears were starting.

Like Jesus, our tears fall
When we lose a loved one.
We pray for health and healing,
But it doesn’t always come.

Not the way we expect.
God’s healing takes many forms.
Peace, His shalom, may come
In ways outside our worldly norms.

Totality, completeness, God’s Will
May come with blessings and harmony,
But sometimes wholeness may not be
Available to you and me.

We all suffer from heart’s scars.
We experience hurt often times.
Blemishes, like scratched diamonds,
Can be transformed: Beauty from crimes.

Yes, God’s grace can transform us.
God values us, scratches and all.
In gratitude, we respond
Hearing and answering His healing call.

We engage in the ministry
Of extending compassionate hands.
Our lives are God’s instruments.
Hear His call. Obey His commands.

Reach out in love.

Where is God?


Tragedy is a common denominator;
We all face it from time to time.
It saddens and isolates us.
It covers our hearts with grime.

The suffering we all endure
Is not foreign to our friends.
It is not foreign to our Lord.
God is in the darkness around each painful bend.

God sent His Son to the cross for us.
There is not a place He will not go.
He walks beside us in our desolation.
His presence is a comfort; don’t you know?

But God is not the cause of our sorrow.
Death – an early earthly departure –
is not the will of God; His heart breaks, too.
He gives us free will. Misuse of it breaks His heart – sure!

When we are in pain, we cry out to God
The way Jesus cried out from the cross.
“Why hast Thou forsaken me? Where are you?”
He answers, “I am here! I cry with you for your loss.”

Christ on Cross Illustration

Beginnings and Endings


This year, 2014, began with the promise of new beginnings – bright and full of cheer. This is the acrostic I wrote in January:

Just
Another
New Year?
Unmatched
Appreciation and
Respect Daily for
You, O Lord!
Make my
Integrity
Real
And
Contagious.
Lengthen
Every
Second!

Did you see that the acrostic poem read vertically says “January Miracles”? I was expecting all good things, of course, as I asked God to lengthen the seconds and let the minutes linger.

Then the endings began. First our good friend, David, died of emphysema. Actually, in retrospect, the endings started in 2013. My friend, Mary Lou, fell down the stairs of her home and died in November. Then Marcia slipped on the ice on her sidewalk and broke her hip. That ended our weekly Bible studies up the stairs in my sanctuary. Then our neighbor’s dad, Mik, slipped off a step stool… died two days later. I was reminded of my wonderful cousin, Bobby, who died after falling off a ladder two years ago. In the midst of my reminiscence, two friends from our church went to meet our Maker. This week a childhood friend – someone my age – died after fighting a ten year battle with Alzheimer’s. I had a long talk with his wife. Life is tenuous, my friends. Are you making the most of each day? Every minute?

ENDINGS

How steady
is your step stool?
How level
is your ladder?
How alright
are your arteries?
How much does that matter?

A step stool
is not very high.
A ladder
can be deadly.
Your arteries
can wipe you out.
It’s a life-threatening
medley!

Mik slipped
from a step stool.
He landed
on his head.
Just a day
or two later,
our friend, Mik,
was dead.

Bobby fell
off a ladder.
He landed
on his head.
Just a day
or two later,
my cousin,
Bobby, was dead.

Plaque in arteries,
Cholesterol in veins,
High blood pressure,
Heart pumps, but strains.

Careless smoking,
Nasty habit.
Lungs shut down.
No life remains.

 

Take care of yourself, my friend. You matter. Each day is a new beginning. Each day has its endings, too. Stretch the seconds. Lengthen every minute. Make the time count.

 

Let Us Pray


In the wake of the horrendous events in Newtown, Connecticut yesterday, the Rev. Jean Johnson in Ennis, Montana sent this prayer to her friends. Thoughtful and well-written, it is worth sharing.

Let us pray…………
Loving God,
you are nearest when we need you most.
In this hour of sorrow we turn to you,
trusting in your loving mercy.
Your love cares for us in life
and watches over us in death.
We bless you for our Savior’s joy in little children
and for the assurance that of such is the kingdom of heaven.
In our sorrow,
make us strong to commit ourselves, and those we love,
to your unfailing care.
In our perplexity,
help us to trust where we cannot understand.
There are days when the burdens we carry are heavy on our shoulders and weigh us down,
when the road seems dreary and endless,
the skies gray and threatening,
when our lives have no music in them,
and our hearts are heavy with pain
and we have lost courage.
Flood the path with light,
turn our eyes to Your promises,
tune our hearts to brave music;
gives us a  sense of companionship and community;
quicken our spirits
that we may be able to encourage all who journey with us on the road of life.
Write Your blessed name, O Lord, upon my heart,
there to remain so indelibly engraven,
that no prosperity,
no adversity,
shall ever move me from Your love.
Be to me a strong tower of defense,
a comforter in tribulation,
a deliverer in distress,
a very present help in trouble
and a guide  through the many temptations and dangers of this life.
In the name of Jesus the Christ we pray………….   Amen.
Aside

Gandhi’s Grandson Speaks Out on Violence


My friend, Jim, sent this message to me today with this introduction, “Thought you might be interested in this note from Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson.”
Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute
160 Wintergreen Way,
Rochester, NY 14618.
 
My heart goes out today to the people of Aurora who have suffered this immense and mindless tragedy.  To those who have lost their loved ones and to those who escaped with injuries this incident will never make any sense.  The word WHY? will always haunt them.  Already the nation is screaming for more protection, more security.  And, yes, the Government has already set the security apparatus in motion and we will gladly surrender more of our freedom to be safe.
As much as this is the time for sympathy and healing it is also a time for soul-searching.  It is easy to isolate this incident as an evil act of a madman and tighten security and move on with life.  We have done this over and over again but the scourge of violence refuses to disappear.
Why will it, when we find so much joy in violence and feed our children this diet from the time they learn to walk?  In fact violence has become so pervasive that it has overtaken our speech, entertainment, relationships, politics, culture, religion in fact, every aspect of human life.
In less than 15 years Colorado has suffered three senseless national tragedies in which scores of innocent lives have perished, not to speak of the mindless violence and killings that plague our cities every day.  Just as hate begets more hate, violence begets more violence.  So in the sacred memory of those who have died let us pledge to stop glorifying violence and to build a society of love, compassion, respect and understanding.
With Heartfelt Sympathies,
Arun Gandhi
My dear WordPress friends,
I was more than interested in these comments by Arun Gandhi.  think Mr. Gandhi has made a very valid point. I’m sure it is one many of you have been pondering, too. How can we stop the violence while we glorify it in our society? What can we do to de-glorify violence and glorify compassion, respect, understanding, and love? Do you have any ideas?
Please write your suggestions in the comments area below.
JanBeek ;o)

Limited Options


My friend, Jack Murphy, died two days ago. He was a member of the Writers of Madison County in southwest Montana. Suffering heart problems and other ailments, he had been contemplating his own death for several years. He didn’t dwell on the subject often in his writing. Usually he wrote whimsical poetry regarding such subjects as Humpty Dumpty’s tragedy or Little Miss Muffet’s victory over that dreadful spider. Now, after he left us at a much too early age, I am drawn to his shared poems and short stories. His words take on deeper, more profound meanings. I ponder his musings. I want to call him back to us and discuss his premises. He wrote of “Limited Options” and of leaving this earth as “an empty shell, no heart, no soul, no place to dwell,” to “drift away through time and space.” I had no idea in 2009 when he published his poem, Surrender, in the Madison County Writers’ Group Anthology that he really would “go” so soon. I miss him!

Surrender

It’s time to go, I hear the voice.
It’s time to go, I have no choice.

I sense a tug upon my sleeve
telling me it’s time to leave.

I am not sure I want to go.
I thought that at the time I’d know

if I was really tired of life,
the aches and pains and constant strife.

Do I have the strong resolve
or will that needed strength dissolve?

And leave me like an empty shell,
no heart, no soul, no place to dwell.

I don’t yet know if I should fight
to stick around to do what’s right

and let the natural things take place,
then drift away through time and space.

I want to bring Jack back. I want to discuss his eternal options. I can’t. He’s gone from this earth. But, I am praying that he has met his Creator and has learned that he now has the Unlimited Options of Eternity, not the “Limited Options” he anticipated in this poem. This was published in that same 2009 anthology:

I wanted to be the first to go,
make it quick, not too slow.

It does not happen, sad to say,
that life always works out that way.

But, often life does not conform,
it does not follow every norm.

Illness or accident oft is the one,
that gets the unadorned deed done.

The rules are vague, if there are rules at all,
on who will stay and who will fall.

The pain of loss is often deep
and it’s all right for you to weep.

As long as you remember, too,
the joy that they did bring to you.

The fun you had along the way,
and all the crazy games you’d play.

The loves and laughs, and serious times
that make up life and its designs.

If only we could get to choose
who exits first, who has to lose.

But, it is not our choice, you see;
it is not left to you and me.

We’ll love our lives until the end,
then ride the river around the bend.

Thus, when our final days are here
and we slip from life so dear,

We’ll drift toward that distant shore,
the lights gone, sleep now evermore.

Sleep now, dear friend, Jack Murphy. My faith wants to believe you are in the gentle, forgiving, ever-loving hands of our Savior, resting in eternal peace. I do remember “the joy you [did] bring” – and I weep with the pain of our loss. I hope to see you someday again – – – round the river’s band.

See Ya Round the River’s Bend

Tag Cloud