Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring is “Springing”

Here I sit in my home office with the windows up enjoying the beauty of the introduction of Spring and music begins to play.  No, not on the radio, nor my iPod.  But the birds outside the window.

Having lived out of “four season country” for ten years, this is music to my ears.  I begin to realize what I had missed living where it was always spring or summer.  (Of course, there are great advantages to that. But I won’t bore anyone with that in this blog!)  The birds are singing and communicating to one another.  What are they saying?  To whom are they calling?  I really do not care.  Sing on creature!

The grass is greening; even the weedy-type which is prominent in the yard of our rental house.  It beckons the roar of the lawn mower.  Irises are popping up through the ground, stretching their fresh leaves out toward the sun preparing to bloom.  The rose bushes are greening and reviving from the trim given to them in the fall.  Gosh!  Even the dandelions are pretty this year!

The trees are budding – Achoo!  We are having difficulty trying to identify the various varieties of which we are not familiar with.  This is a task that is almost outside the realm of a Google search!  The beloved dogwood trees’ buds are bursting.  Soon, as in this week, their beauty of white and pink will permeate the horizon and even the dense woods.

We have placed our hummingbird feeder out waiting for these creatures to come and quench their thirst.  The bumblebees by the thousands are gathering pollen from the wisteria and flowering trees around.

Like us, the neighbors have begun to venture outside their houses, crank up the mowers, raking out the flowerbeds, preparing garden beds, and generally sprucing up.  Spring is springing all around!

The beauty of spring is a reminder of life’s resurrection.  What appeared to be dead is coming back to life!  What was dormant was actually still alive.  Life is springing all around.  This inspires me to refresh and rejuvenate my own living of this life.  (Somebody say “exercise.” Doesn’t pushing the lawnmower count?)

I am also reminded of my spiritual journey.  What has been dormant that I need to restart?  What can I do to rejuvenate my walk with Christ?  Even the Psalmist King David prayed “Create in me a clean heart, O God. . .Restore to me the joy of your salvation.”

During this season of Lent we journey toward a time of celebrating the One who overcame death, was rejuvenated for our sake, in order that we might live again and again.

What a beautiful reminder of spring!  Hallelujah what a Savior!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


This week is like weeks many of us have from time to time:  one in which several funerals are on my calendar.  One is for a saint from the church I served many years ago.  She was the organist and I imagine she is now part of the heavenly orchestra.

Attending funerals is one exercise I tend to do when I move to a new place (I’ve only moved four times in 30 years!)  It gives to me a perspective of the varying nuances of each region of the country.  Even each church in a region may have acceptable (and not acceptable) practices for funerals.  As a minister these are good things to know before leading one.
On an episode of the TV comedy Will and Grace, Grace goes running to Will with the dilemma of facing death.  She tells him that she’s been thinking a lot about dying because she’s afraid “that one day it may happen to her.”

Well, Grace, I’ve got good news and bad news.  The bad news is you’re right, it will happen to you one day.  The good news is you’re not alone!  One hundred percent of us are guaranteed only one thing in life: death.  Life is full of choices and most eventually have an effect on how we die, and perhaps when we die.  One important choice or lack thereof, however, determines where we end up after we “walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.”

John Kramp, in his book Out of Their Faces and Into Their Shoes, reminds the reader that most of the evangelism methods we have learned are “based on the premise that people believed in God, worried about eternity, and lived lives filled with felt-needs.”  He goes on to say that there is a “futility of offering the answer to people who are not asking the question.”

I have been with people as one whom they loved passed on into eternity.  Many times I possessed a sense of assurance that where they now were was where all Christians aspire to be when it happens to them.  Sadly, though, I’ve been there with those who have had little to no faith journey, or I did not know them prior to the event to have foreknowledge.
In that episode of Will and Grace, Grace was concerned that Will, a well-to-do lawyer, had only left her a measly $1,400 in his will.  She was working on her will and wanted to leave him something, but didn’t want to do too much.  She was upset that Will was only going to leave her a small amount.  The argument waned when Will told her that was all he had fifteen years ago when he wrote the will; he had not thought about it since then.

Will is no different than any of us.  We try not to think of our own death—a very distant, future event.  Yet, like this friend of mine from long ago, death could come to any of us today.  More important than preparing for the disbursement of one’s estate (as important as that is!), is one’s preparation for life after death.  It is appointed unto everyone once to die, and then the judgment.  But, all who have placed their faith, trust and hope in Jesus Christ shall receive their heavenly reward, because He took upon Himself the judgment for our sins.

For the most part we cannot determine when or how we shall die.  But we each must decide where we will go when that moment comes.