We just celebrated Memorial Day weekend, remembering those who gave the ultimate of sacrifice for our freedom and honoring those who serve in our armed forces to stand in the gap for our protection and freedom. I was also moved by the Spirit this past Sunday when we gathered around the new Memorial Prayer Garden on the south side of the church building. We dedicated the garden to the service of God and then, Lane Smith led us in singing “In the Garden” a cappella. In all of these moments of remembrance, I personally remembered of my own mortality and an episode I experienced two years ago.
“You are going to the hospital!” proclaimed my doctor. These are words that many of us may have heard or will hear in the future. These words bring anxiety. After hearing these words, along came sirens of the ambulance--familiar sounds living near the fire and police departments in town--but this time the sirens were to transport me to the hospital.
Declaring you have unresolved chest pain causes others anxiety and others to jump into action to care for the person in distress. There you lay with the myriad EKGs, IVs, BP checks, doses of nitroglycerine, etc., with time moving so quickly, yet in slow motion. During these crisis-like times, though, the big question is always present. The question comes in many forms but interpreted as, “Is this going to be my last breath?”
As I laid on the gurney bouncing along Highway 82 (I believe that was the route), I came to a renewed resolution in my mind. The resolution connects to what Paul declared in the scripture above. As I bounced along, I discovered a peaceful assurance that if this was my last breath or not, I had the best of the best. Either way, whether seeing the light of a hospital room or seeing The Light, I was in the comfortable presence of Jesus Christ. Either way I can sing,
And He walks with me and He talks with me,Celebrating holidays such as Memorial Day helps remind us of the sacrifice of others but it also reminds us of the assurance of the gift of Christ’s sacrifice for our freedom from sin and death and we are His.
And He tells me I am His Own.
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
Prayer: God of Wonders, thank you for loving us and giving us your Son, Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior that provides the assurance of whether we die or we live we belong to you. Give us the courage and strength to live out that assurance and pass it on to others. May we live this day as the first day of the rest of our life in You. Amen.