Today’s Word from Pastor Jim

Every day I receive dozens, sometimes hundreds, of emails. More than half of them are junk: scams, mattress sales, or forwarded jokes. Those don’t last very long in my mailbox. I read touching messages from you, telling me about your dear family members, friends in need of prayer, or seeking some spiritual direction as you navigate your way through this fallen world.

Most of the feedback I get is positive. Those who read my messages or listen to my sermons tend to overlook my abusive treatment of the English language. I appreciate everyone who takes a break from busy schedules to consider my thoughts. I am thankful, too, for those who take the time to praise or criticize my opinions.

This morning, I opened my email to read words of encouragement from a parishioner and friend. She quickly moved on from encouragement writing, “On a different note, you were in a dream that I had in the wee hours of the morning. You had died! Rather suddenly and unexpectedly.” I figured that it was sudden as I knew nothing about my demise. She continued to describe the funeral. It must have been post-pandemic, as there were people there and no mention of masks.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die.”

I am around death a lot. I am around death enough to know that I don’t need to worry about mine. That does not mean that I am refusing to wear a mask or use a seat belt, or planning foolhardy, dangerous activities like mountain climbing or pretending to understand women. I am around death enough to know that my day will come, and I will once again be safe in God’s arms.

My reply to my prophetic friend who dreamed of my death was this, “If I were to die tomorrow, I would have had more good meals, more warm beds and hot showers, more hugs, more tender moments, and the opportunity to see more of the world than 95% of every human who has ever lived. If I were to die tomorrow, I would have no complaints.” How silly it would be to say, “Why me?” How greedy it would be to want more, when I have already had more than my share.

Our frail humanity is not a weakness; it is a thing of beauty. Nothing is more precious or beautiful than a newborn baby, and that newborn is frail and totally dependent on others for the continuation of life. The illusion comes as we grow up, we venture out believing that we are masters of the universe, immortal, strong, needing no assistance, seeing no limits, unaware of our place as temporal creatures.

Our frail humanity is not a weakness; it is a thing of beauty. We need each other, we need God, we will traverse the terra firma for a few decades, drinking fine wine, building lives and homes, birthing children and forming friendships and then, with or without warning, it will end. And it is good, and we will be safe, and we will return to the one who loves us, forgives us, and in life or death will never leave our side.

Thanks for sharing the journey. Thanks for reading. Keep those emails coming.

One day closer,
Pastor Jim