Today is Saturday, January 14, 2017.
“Without a struggle, there can be no progress.” – Frederick Douglass
Neologism – a new word, usage, or expression. In our society, this frequently occurs when people begin mashing words together, as in “chillax.” I hate that word, by the way.
Today is Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day. That actually sounds quite delicious. Makes me wish there was a New York deli around.
The visitation for C’s step-dad went well, last night. There was no familial drama, although it was a bit different from any visitation I have ever attended. First, one of his daughters got up to speak, and then asked that we all stand and say the pledge of allegiance to the flag that was draped over his casket. He did serve in the military, so was able to have that on his casket. I can confidently say that this was the first time I have ever said the pledge at a funeral/visitation.
A short while later, one of the sons and his wife had their pastor there, who also got up and spoke a few words. From my experience, that is also an unusual practice at a visitation. At one point, C leaned over and asked, “What’s he going to say tomorrow?” My response was, “Do we still have to come tomorrow?” Nothing wrong with a little levity at a solemn event, right? All kidding aside, his words were very meaningful, and he quoted a good deal of Psalm 139, which happens to be one of my favorites, as well as a favorite of my father’s.
In a short while, I am leaving to go pick up my mother to bring her to the funeral. I believe S is planning to go with me. The funeral will be today at 1:30.
But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the LORD! Psalm 115:18
I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Psalm 142:5
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Psalm 108:3-4
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
(From Daily Guideposts 2017)
For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13
“What are you afraid of?” asked the emergency room doctor of Carol Kuykendall, writer of today’s reading. Carol had gone to the ER with “a painful intestinal blockage, a periodic result of . . . ovarian cancer surgery.” After running some tests, the doctor had returned to advise that Carol needed to admitted and transported to an across town hospital. She just wanted to go home.
“What are you afraid of?” asked the doctor a second time. Carol could not find words. After insisting that her husband and daughter go home, Carol was alone with God, so she talked to him.
“What am I afraid of?” She finally began to name the fears in a conversation with God. “Naming those fears in conversation with God took some of the power out of them, especially as I remembered His faithfulness within those painful memories.” By the time she was taken to the ambulance to be transported, she felt “less alone and less afraid.”
My verse for this year, a side line in the heading of this blog, is Isaiah 41:10, just a few verses before the verse that heads up this reading. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. I have asked myself, numerous times, “What are you afraid of?” In truth, we have nothing to fear. The worst possible thing that can happen to us can only send us “home.” And lesser things, while they can cause us significant pain, pale in the face of God’s grace, mercy, and faithfulness.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah. (Psalm 46:1-3
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Father, give us your peace. Teach us to not be afraid, no matter how daunting the situation may appear. Help us to trust that you are with us. Help us to not be dismayed, for you are our God. Give us your strength and help; uphold us with your righteous right hand!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.