Happy birthday, Mom! Today is her 82nd birthday (well, it's a bit after midnight now so actually yesterday, the 9th, was her 82nd birthday.) We started the day with coffee, as usual. She had two very nutritious oatmeal cookies for breakfast, and then we went to church. The text for the sermon was the story of the Widow of Nain. As many of you know, Mom has had quite the bumpy ride lately, so it was quite a treat for me to spend the day with her, and spoil her as much as I could. Cathy, Mark and I made lunch for everyone after church, and we had a fresh baked cherry pie for dessert. More coffee too, of course. It's a staple in our homes.
I have to admit that even before I got on the road to go to Dad and Mom's this weekend I was feeling melancholy about this particular visit. What a blessing it is to enjoy having elderly parents! It can be trying, frustrating, irritating, overwhelming, exhausting (you name it), but we don't take one moment for granted. At the core, it's about love, and it's not just about the love we have for our parents or for each other. It's the about the genesis of love. This veil of tears is the constant reminder that, because of sin, our bodies will waste away and one day be void of life. That fact was so easily dismissed when we were children and ignorant of our own mortality, and then, it seems, even more so as selfish adolescents and young adults. And yet through it all, we know how things are going to be for those of us baptized in Christ! One of our Communion hymns today was the Easter hymn, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." Though Mom continues on an uncertain and somewhat bumpy ride right now, she joyfully sang:
He lives to silence all my fears;
He lives to wipe away my tears;
He lives to calm my troubled heart;
He lives all blessings to impart.
He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death;
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.
It's an Easter hymn, and yes, Easter is over for the church year. But Easter is what it is all about for all of us. It is the same compassion that Jesus showed the Widow of Nain. It's about God who gives life vs. sin which causes death. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." In Christ we live.