A line of cars blocked the driveway, extending out into the street. Cars within the lot circled the rows, patiently scouting for spots. Other vehicles drove up onto the front lawn, green grass hidden under a layer of snow. Later arrivals, seeing the depleted spaces, crossed the street to a sprawling shopping mall to borrow their quiet Sunday afternoon parking spots.
Inside the church, it was a family reunion and memorial rolled into one. A dear grandpa from our church died on Thursday, and yesterday was his funeral. The worship center was packed, and hardworking ushers scurried to bring more chairs, lining the outdoor hallway with additional rows. Inside, sons spoke through tears, and friends sang harmonious hymns from another era.
The Bible passage our dear grandpa friend had chosen ahead of time marveled at God’s majestic creative powers, mentioning the stars and cosmos, then wondering tenderly, “What is man that you are mindful of him?”
At the end of the service, we were suddenly given a beyond-the-grave chance to hear this grandpa’s voice and heart again. In a video recorded a week before his death, our gallant grandpa and his fragile wife sat close to each other on a hospice bed. In painstaking breaths, he thanked his God for the many gifts throughout life. He recounted his story of hearing of God’s goodness and choosing to follow him, and the long journey that followed. Reaching out to squeeze his wife’s hand, he counted gift after gift of God’s goodness. In the same breath, he confessed his own failings and shortcomings, leading the topic back again to His Creator’s faithful, extravagant love. Lavished love, unworthy recipients, radical grace...
Wiping tears, I listened and rejoiced. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
I follow his lead today too, and link with Ann, in counting gifts:
-for a sister's visit and sweet nuzzles from my baby niece
-for hot coffee and a Bible and pen
-for a husband that cooks omelets for us, and starts Bible conversations
-for laughter with old friends over Chinese food and games
-for a church family reunion and for older people in my life who show me Jesus
-for you, my new and old reading friends! Thank you for joining me here, for stopping by, for honoring me with your presence -- whether you have time to comment or not.
What about you? What did you do this weekend? In what ways did you see Jesus this week? Count some gifts with me tonight.
-Photos from IStock Microsoft Clip Art