In over 30 years of ministry I have been with innumerable families at the time of death. Sometimes expected, sometimes a shock. But always a time of grief and a time of many decisions. The more decisions a family has to make without any guidance from the deceased the more difficult the time of grieving can be. Family members will sometimes second guess themselves for years after about whether they made good decisions for their beloved.
But when someone has laid out plans (including plans for a service), this makes a difficult process so much easier. It leaves more time for sharing memories and the other tasks that come alongside a death. As your pastor I cannot urge you enough, no matter your age, to talk with your families and make some plans, even if they are only given to your family. The guidance you provide will help in so many ways.
Our church is at work providing an option for what to do with your ashes, should you choose cremation. A Memorial Garden Columbarium is to be installed in the patio garden off my office. (If you haven’t seen the patio, feel free to stop in and take a look it really is nice.) I believe it will be wonderful to have a “gathering of the company of saints” right outside my office. The church offers this as one option to members as they make plans for themselves after death.
You will be hearing more about this in the coming weeks. But I am available any time to discuss your service and what you would like. I would also be willing to go with you to meet with a funeral home as you make your plans. In this season of resurrection, we face death with hope in our faithful God. It is also important to share that hope with our families.
Serving Christ with you,
For more information/help, email to: Pastor
As I write this, it has been one week since 17 students and teachers were killed at the hands of a young gunman in Parkland, Florida. Every time one of these shootings occurs (with increasing frequency), the phrase “thoughts and prayers” comes from all corners. Thoughts and prayers are for the victims, their families, the survivors, and the community. There are those who have grown weary, angry, and cynical with this almost automatic response in the aftermath of these tragedies.
Which raises the question for people of faith: what is the role of prayer in the face of these events? What do we pray? What do we ask of God? What are we seeking from God? What response do we expect from God? Certainly we hope for comfort and strength for those who grieve, for healing for the wounded and traumatized. But is that all?
A significant part (if not the most significant part) of prayer, is when we stop talking and we silence ourselves to listen to God. For when we do that we are opening ourselves to God’s use in the world. What if God wants us to be part of the answer to our prayers, but we don’t stop asking things of God to hear that leading of the Spirit? Listening may keep us from falling into helplessness or hopelessness, for that is when God will come to us, guide us, transform us, and call us to live our faith. But only if we truly open ourselves to the will of God.
Thoughts and prayers can be the most powerful gift we have – but only if we can imagine God transforming this world in and through us. Who knows? You may be the answer to someone’s prayer!
Praying with you,
What words of Jesus mean the most to you? Which of his teachings has had the most impact on you as a disciple? During Lent we will be reflecting on some of those words – some spoken to disciples, some to those who were trying to understand him and his ministry. One of the great things about Lent is that it gives us the space to reflect on Jesus – his words, his actions, his love – without the hectic level of activity in Advent.
It is my hope that Lent will be such a season for you, a season to step back and renew a spiritual practice – whether prayer or serving or reading scripture – as together we move toward the holy season of the passion and resurrection of Christ. What difference has Christ made in your life? What difference could you make for Christ?
May this be a season of growth and new life for each of us.
Loving and serving God with you,
While this isn’t really a New Year’s topic, I was privileged to go with one of the groups that went caroling. We visited saints of the church, some of whom still live in their own homes and some of whom are now in communities that provide care and support. These were holy ground moments, each of them. Members shared stories of the memories that the familiar carols brought to mind, they sang along, some with gusto. Most shed a few tears. In those moments we were being church together. We were sharing our faith through song and story, our hope and joy in Jesus Christ. You could sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in each place. We all were changed by being together.
As we enter the New Year, my prayer for you is an abundance of holy ground moments. These aren’t always happy moments, but they are tender moments when God is so present that you cannot help but sense the holy companionship and strength and love. They may come at hospital bedsides or maternity delivery rooms. They may be at your breakfast table or even while standing in line at the post office! I pray your heart will be open for all the ways God will come to you in this new year.
Loving and serving God with you,