Monday, August 6, 2007

"Traveling Light" - Chapter Ten

Some good friends recently invoked the saying, "Getting old ain't for sissies." I'm not quite there, but at 49 I am at the point where "all the warranties are expiring." I have to keep reading glasses around at all times. I have to do regular exercises to appease some angry discs in my back.

"In the midst of life we are in death,"
The Prayer Book reminds us at the graveside. Youthful vigor can blind us to this reality, although in this time of war and terrorism perhaps mortality will assume a more prominent place in the consciousness of all ages. Perhaps one of war's casualties will be our Western assumption that "religion is to comfort the old" as they approach medically managed deaths after long, comfortable lives.

The Bible offers a promise that our nagging signs of mortality can point us toward spiritual vitality: "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day" (II Corinthians 4:16). We are being renewed. This is not our own, unaided effort. We must look to the one who does the renewing. This is the Good Shepherd, always with us.

Chapter 11 on Wednesday.


Scott said...

This chapter talks of removing the burden of the grave from our thoughts and lives. Do we fear death? Why? Why do we allow for ourselves to doubt what is in store for us, when the answer has been clearly outlined? It was my own mother's death almost six years ago that helped me past the doubts. My mother was sick for the last two years of her life. I feel convinced that she spent those last two years preparing the rest of us for when she would not be here. Here's one way: My father preceeded her in death. Myself and my siblings used to care for his grave, and ensure that the flowers looked great and that even evergreens were in place for the holidays. After several years of this, I noticed that my mother never mentioned whether or not she visited the cemetary. So, I asked her: "Mother, do you ever visit the cemetary and dad's grave?". She answered: "I have not been to see his grave since the day he was buried." Shocked...I asked her why. She replied in four very simple words: "Because he is not there". My mother, in four simple words gave me one of the largest gifts anyone could ever give me. Freedom from the grave. She showed me how much she truly believed in God's promise, and how much she knew my father believed in it as well.

DennyT said...

Going through the questions in this chapter’s study guide caused Irene and I to realize just how little we focus on death.
The focus on Jesus personally attending our deaths and delivering them to his home was a great blessing we had not thought about before.
Fourteen months ago, I was faced with the evidence that I had a very aggressive cancer. I remember praying to God that I would abide by his will concerning my outcome. The prayer chain and the prayers of family and friends buoyed me up during my treatments. It wasn’t just faith, it was experiencing the love and warmth that allowed me to never think that I was in immediate danger of dying.
On a personal note, Max’s story of “Shamu” is a wonderful illustration of how fathers/shepherds/Holy Fathers can ease the fears and concerns of their loved ones