We went to a long and beautiful funeral service for a woman of great soul in our life at Colonial Church. She's touched everyone's life in this Christian company, by her love of Jesus, her passion for justice, her forgiving spirit as one of only four or five African-American people in Colonial's life.
She sang in our chorale. She couldn't keep still as the music kept her swinging and swaying. She sported wild dreadlocks. Her loving was tender and deep with all of us in church.
On Martin Luther King Day several years ago, she was invited to speak a word to the congregation. It was a prophetic word of truth. "My friends said, 'Why do you want to go to that white church in Edina?' but I said I go to that white church because I want to learn not to hate white people." She came as a reconciler, a woman of brave heart and an honest spirit. She has probably been a Colonial member for fifteen or twenty years. She never gave up on us.
And the service gathered white folks and black folks together to thank God for her life. She was a skilled nurse, with a servant's heart. She loved Jesus and she loved us. Her death came suddenly, as a great surprise. But with Gospel singing, our Chorale's anthems, the testimonies of her family, and a sweet, loving sermon by our dear Jeff - and, with many tears - we truly thanked God for this earnest, honest emissary of His who was our true and beloved sister in Christ.
Others died too. News came that a much younger man than Wanda died this past week. A friend of the years. A surprise. A pain in our hearts.
And, here at Covenant Village of Golden Valley, four pictures and accompanying obituaries went up in the mail room announcing the deaths of people who were just yesterday among us.
One woman, standing by, shook her head and said, "Too many deaths. Too many deaths."
For sure, we are all dying. And in fact, in our Senior Residence, the death of dear friends is almost a daily occurrence. How we miss them. How much we think of them, and lift our prayers for them.
And how much these passings of the dear ones cause us to think of our own lives, and how fragile - and yes, how short - they have turned out to be. All our lives are short. The Bible tells us that." Those "fourscore years and 10" come to an end so soon. For so many years, we thought we would live forever. But now we know every year and every day was a gift. God has been so generous with us. So, slowly in our old age, we learn to cherish each day - in our own lives, but of so many others too. Of our dear friends. Of our children. Of our wives and husbands.
Finally we get to the point of why Jesus says: Put me first in your lives. Love me the most. Then all the other loves will be fitting and right, fulfilling and forever.
Each day friends, love life, cherish the dear family and friends. And most of all, our dear Lord.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
|Arthur Rouner Ministries||
ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES
All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. . ."