Archive | January 2014

Springtime for my soul…

Right now my family and I are in “survival mode”. Our version of survival is vastly better than what the Ingalls family experienced during The Long Winter  and also so much better than the Syrian refugees fleeing persecution for their Christian faith, huddled in tents in a “wet hell” as Franklin Graham  of Samaritan’s Purse recently described conditions there.  Nonetheless, we long for spring, better health, and moving beyond the stress of enduring winter.

As wives of chronically ill husbands, we also long for better days. Anyone facing old age, cancer, or chronic illness with someone they love can relate. It is easy to get sucked into the mire of depressive thoughts and Eeyore days… “why bother”?

To quote the Puritans, attending to the “means of grace” is a sure way to bring spring to your soul.  The means of grace as summarized by the Westminster Larger Catechism: “WLC Q. 154. What are the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation? A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to his church the benefits of his mediation, are all his ordinances; especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for their salvation.”

The preached word today was especially a healing, warming balm for my soul, so I would like to share my glimpse of spring with you. January does not seem a likely time to hear a resurrection sermon, but, oh, how perfect!  I Corinthians 15:12-29 was the passage preached upon. Literal resurrection of Christ’s body means literal resurrection for us. Like Christ, our resurrected bodies will be glorious and perfect. Death is an enemy, unnatural, yet ultimately defeated. In the future our eyes will be undimmed by tears, our bodies will cooperate and perform beautifully do our Lord’s bidding.

Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud

By John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

If you have born with this lengthy post until now, the last tid-bit I will share from this morning’s sermon is a brief note on the death of John Donne (1572-1631).  According to Wikipedia, John Donne had a resurrection portrait of himself commissioned and hung in his house a few months before his death. When I shared this with my husband, who remained home from church due to illness, we both smiled at the thought of what his “resurrection portrait” would include:  a full head of hair and a long, flowing beard that would rival that of John Knox.  My own resurrection portrait: long, thick, sun-lit blond hair, sparkling eyes,a flowing flowered  dress, astride a very amiable horse, riding through a lushly green and blooming meadow bordered by thick, towering trees and a stream. In this portrait I am by myself in the presence of my Lord. However, I would be riding in anticipation of meeting up with a large circle of joyously healthy family and friends. May the circle be unbroken. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.