Ponderings for May 8 2019

Just came up from an afternoon at the beach with my birthday bride. Sue and I are heading back out soon to watch the sunset over the Gulf. Maybe I’ll post some cool pictures. Thanks, Trinity, for allowing us this R&R.
I am reminded, though, that life (and death) still happen, even when I am “off the clock.”
 
Three beautiful people, a triad of faithful Christ-followers, have been ushered into eternity this past week. My inbox has been filled with words of sadness and triumph—requesting prayer and even “answers” to why.
 
Warren Wiersbe was a well-worn veteran Christian leader and speaker. I met Dr. Wiersbe when I was a young pastoral intern at The Chapel. We were without a senior pastor at the time, and so it was my job to pick up and “host” our weekly guest speakers. The roster of preachers was a veritable who’s who of national evangelical leaders. Most of the guest speakers were “too important” to give a young intern the time of day. But Warren Wiersbe genuinely cared about me, asking me sincere questions about myself and my dreams—and waiting around to hear my answers. I have never forgotten that lesson.
 
Rachel Held Evans was a young mother, a strong speaker and writer, and a thorn in many an evangelical’s side. I didn’t always agree with everything she wrote and said, but I sure appreciated her passion and her heart for those marginalized from the church. She was a reminder to me that though I may not see eye to eye with someone, respect and kindness are always called for. Her legacy also reminds me that the Church needs to work harder at not just being right but also at showing grace and being cognizant of our tone when it comes to issues of gender and even the sexual confusions of our day.
 
Like Rachel, Morgan was also the mother of a young family. Unlike Rachel, you’ve probably never heard of Morgan. I got a text from her mother late last night saying Morgan never woke up after surgery—that they have to take her off life support. And they all need showered in prayer. I’ve known that family since Morgan was a youngster. She went on all the youth trips. I officiated her wedding. And now her bereaved dad wants to know why a mother is snatched away from her four little girls. I really don’t know, Bruce; I really don’t know.
 
Vacation time is like a season in the Psalms: the beautiful songs of life; the heavens declaring the glory of God; verses filled with poetry and life and promise. And still sometimes, even during R&R, we are reminded that there is a shadow of death. Uninvited, untimely, dark and foreboding death. But wait, the Lord is still with us—all of us. So we should fear no evil, because the Lord is our Shepherd.
 
I’ll see you on Mother’s Day.
Pastor Paul