Today’s Word from Pastor Jim_

_“For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.”_ Ecclesiastes 3

We currently have eight funerals, or graveside services, scheduled at TLC. We also have two of our members on Hospice Care. Among the funerals is the celebration of the life of Web Halvorsen. At 103, Web was the oldest member of our church. He was a part of the greatest generation and the largest invasion force in history. Web hit the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Seventy-seven years later he was able to remember every detail, liberating France, hiding in a ditch, taking a bullet in the chest, and having coffee on the front lines with General George Patton. I don’t expect that I will ever meet another man quite like Web. Our condolences to his wife, 101-years young Marion.

A young adult asked me about death this week. I told her that there was a big difference between getting hit by a bus at 40 and dying at 90. Death out of season is disruptive to our sense of order; the grief is more palatable and longer lasting. Death after a journey of nine or more decades is usually quite peaceful and free of fear.

Our lives begin to shrink sometime in our twenties. We no longer find it necessary to party all night, we quit jumping out of planes (unless you are Trudy Martin), and our body metabolism begins to change. None of this is sad; it is simply maturity, the passing of time, the natural process of aging. Before you know it, we are not staying up ‘til midnight, long plane rides are unattractive, and we never pass up the opportunity to use the bathroom. Our expanding universe begins to contract, home is our sanctuary, and routine is comforting.

There are times and seasons for every matter under heaven.

In the normal course of life, at the end of a long journey, the elders in our midst are tired, weak, and worn. They have lived and loved and stood at graveside to say goodbye to parents, spouse, friends, and sometimes children. Death no longer becomes the enemy. Death becomes a mysterious return home. We get no choice in the timing of our birth; we do not get to choose our parents or siblings. Life comes to us as an inexplicable gift, every day new and filled with joy and sorrow. Death comes to us in much the same way; our frail flesh returns to the earth, and we return to God. It does not matter if we believe it or not. Reality is not dependent upon our belief or understanding. We come from God and we will return to God. What is so scary about that?

Eight funerals, but also one wedding. For everything there is a season.

One day closer,
Pastor Jim