12 March 2018

smacked in the face with mortality

I feel like I've been smacked in the face with mortality.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the memorial service of a friend's mom.  She was a spicy lady I met only one time, a little rough around the edges, who made me smile.  I hoped she would recover so I would have the chance to know her, but no.  Her service was a lovely glimpse into the life of a giving and loved woman who followed the Lord with practicality.  I felt like I got to know her a little, in listening to the memories, laughter, and tears of her friends and family.

Yesterday I went to a memorial service for a young mom from my church, who died unexpectedly.  We were casual friends who didn't walk life intimately, but still, I was jolted over and over last week with the odd feeling that I was going to wake up from a bad dream, that I would walk into church on Sunday morning and see her vibrant smile.  Of course, no.  Her service was full of memories, tears, love, laughter, faith, and the call to follow Christ.

Very soon, I'll be participating in the memorial service for a long-time friend who is approaching the end of this life.  We've spent precious time together over the past 4 months, wrestling with questions about suffering and death, sharing thoughts about life and eternity, encouraging one another in the pursuit of Jesus.  I've treasured the enormous privilege of ministering to her through song as she's grieved loss and battled pain.  Her service will be a beautiful testimony to a life well-lived.

Earthly life is a vapour; how am I spending mine?  Someday I'll wake up to my real Life, and I want the memories of me to be sweet.  I want to be known for my passion for Jesus.  I want to be remembered for love.  kindness.  compassion.  generosity.  integrity.  authenticity.

How about you?

01 March 2018

meeting Jesus

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the bleeding woman in the Bible.  Her story can be found in Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, and Luke 8:43-48.  Here's a Jes-version paraphrase:

So this woman has been ill with some kind of bleeding problem for 12 long years.  She's gone to doctor after doctor and spent all she has on finding a cure, to no avail; in fact, she's sicker than ever.  She's heard about the man, Jesus, who heals people from disease, and today, she finds out he's come to her region.  She longs to get close to him.

[Now understand, Jewish law was super-strict about cleanliness.  A bleeding problem would mean you were unclean and could not be a part of the community.]  Imagine if she's found out:  an unclean woman, entering a crowd, touching countless people and making them unclean!  But this woman is desperate.  If it's true that he heals diseases, she could be freed from this curse forever.  She decides to brave the risk because after all, what does she have to lose?

Off she goes, and soon she reaches the outskirts of the milling crowd.  She can't call out to Jesus, because that would draw unwanted attention.  She thinks that maybe if she could just manage to touch his clothing, she will be healed, so she eases her way through the crowd until she's behind him.  She reaches out and brushes his robe with her finger and immediately feels it:  SHE'S HEALED.


There's more to the story, but here's where I went today:  I thought about my life as a follower of Jesus.  I think when I'm not careful, I settle for being a part of the crowd.  I walk with him, ride the wave of ministry, enjoy seeing him in action.  I marvel at his good work and feel glad to be a part of the family of God.

But if I'm just a part of the crowd, I miss out on experiencing him personally.  I lose touch with my own desperation and forget just how badly I need him in the every day.  The bleeding woman has nothing left and she knows Jesus has what she needs, so she very purposefully reaches for him.  She seeks to touch him in faith, even afraid, and receives healing.

I'm just like her, so often.  I'm so afraid in the crowd of people, afraid to be noticed for my unclean state, afraid to be denied what I so badly want and need.  I love how Jesus responds to her.  He notices her even in her attempt to stay hidden, knowing she's unclean but not exposing that truth to the crowd.  He doesn't shame her, but he commends her faith and calls her daughter, giving her acceptance and love.

What a sweet, intimate meeting in the middle of the chaos.

Yes, please.