“The evening came; it was the first/last day..”
That new baby post (Sunday) was certainly good for a couple of days. Nice, huh? I could probably get by with just pasting in new baby pictures for the rest of the week! But my commitment to this blog – and my readers – has always been for an ongoing conversation about the Life-Charged Life. Today is a new day, and God’s promises are new every morning too.
However, the location where I took the picture was outside the home of my friend John, who passed away earlier in the day. And so the gathering darkness also serves to remind me that there is a constant battle, a give and take, when it comes to the promise of the life-charged life.
The older I get the more I understand that we are engaged in a constant struggle when it comes to the balance of power here on Earth. I’m not questioning the final victory; that has already been taken care of by Jesus. But we happen to live right here and right now, and there is ground both gained and lost on a day-to-day basis.
This is one more reason that I am so committed to the idea of vibrant Christian community. Christian community does not eliminate the struggle, but it does provide the appropriate context in which to take it on.
When things simply get to be too much… When hope slips out of the room for a while… When a spouse dies… When a child is lost or out of control… When life overwhelms… When despair is a constant companion… When things simply fail to make sense…
That’s when community – rooted in love – must already be in place. Taking the journey together, being the presence of Christ, serving our brothers and sisters, celebrating together, holding hands when things look grim, whistling in the dark, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs….
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. – Ephesians 5
This life is about the journey. Light and dark. Stunning victory and temporary defeat. Joy and sorrow. Pain and peace. The birth of a much-anticipated grand-child and a sudden death that is so troubling and hard to understand.
Life is difficult, period. Death does not make it more so. Birth… well, that helps more than a little. Both ends of the spectrum – both sides of the same coin – are part of the definition of what it means to be faithful human beings in this time and place.
“Leaning up against eternity…”
We are the mortal who constantly brush up against the immortal; born into eternity but fixed – for now – in time; defined by faith, yet tested by doubt; released into possibility while still snagged on unbelief; looking into tomorrow through a vision sometimes clouded by tears….
So rest in peace, my friend. And live into promise, dear David Henry.
For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. Romans 14…
In love, and because of love – DEREK