Dec 30, 2014

Moment-by-Moment, We Wait for Eternity

By Beth Rice

As Christians, we know that God’s perspective is that of eternity, and yet He has placed us within a world of minutes, hours, passing moments, and chronological time.

Last Saturday morning I drove to meet members of my husband's family so that we could clean out the final home my in-laws had lived in. While on the road, I passed the truck and trailer of Party Patrol, a company that rents out those bouncy houses for children's birthday parties, as well as tents, chairs, and many other items that people wish to use but not to buy. I was deeply struck by the contrast between sorting and removing the accumulated belongings of a couple who had been together almost sixty years, and the transitory use of rental items some people want for only one day.

 Isn't it odd that when you think your life has been tilted on its axis, such as when a loved one dies and agonizing decisions must be made, life all around you continues as if nothing at all were happening, no matter what the outcome of those decisions? Days still tick by, the months and seasons change, events occur, babies are born, more people die. Yet, you are changed. Loss has occurred and you will never be the same.

Once we experience a death or a trauma, such as my husband's Iraq deployment, life is never quite the same. Some things do not seem so important, while others are more treasured.   

Some of the things I treasure are memories. Today in the classroom where I assist a special needs student, we talked about the dust in the air during science class. We spoke of dust "dancing in the sun."  In a flashback to ten years ago, I was sitting in the pew of a very small church in western Pennsylvania with the young daughter of the organist. The child was quite precocious and active and would often get into trouble when she got bored during the service. After several attempts at trying to keep her in the pew closest to her mom, I offered to take her into my pew with me. I hoped that she would behave because I wielded the title of "Pastor's Wife." Even so, I took the precaution of asking her to sit against the window while I blocked the aisle side. I hoped that on this Sunday she wouldn’t dive under the pew as she was sometimes known to do. On this day, it was very sunny, and a stream of sunlight was coming through the stained glass window directly in front of this little girl. There was dust dancing in the beam. She was momentarily transfixed by it. With her hands, she tried to capture and hold the particles. Her quietness caught my attention and I glanced over to see what she was doing. She looked so angelic, so innocent, while she was interested in that dancing dust. Light is such a simple thing, but it captivated both her and me.

The fragility of happy memories are a reminder that we are here on earth for just a little while. We suffer loss and grief here, but our final home is with Jesus in Heaven, where joyous moments do not fade away.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials" (1 Peter 1:3-6).

Amen. 


***

Beth Rice is a pastor's wife, who with Jim, her husband of 33 years, lives in her hometown of Florence, Massachusetts. The couple has served parishes in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indiana.  Beth currently works as a teacher's aid in a small rural elementary school in Westhampton, MA.  She holds a bachelor's degree in science from the University of Massachusetts.

Title Image: "Sunlight in the Blue Room" by Anna Ancher, 1891 

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