Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Our Slice of Eternity

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On my wedding day many, many thoughts went through my head.   One of my favorite moments of the day was when we asked all our guests to join us for a group photo by the crosses at the church we got married in. This isthe church I grew up in, and looking at the charter membership, I think there are more charter members who have passed on than are still on this earth.   My memories from this church are dear.  I remember a lady named Dean stringing Christmas lights around her feet, plugging them in, and asking, "What hymn am I?"  (Answer:  Let the Lower Lights be Burning.)  I remember her husband, Bob, one time saying we needed to sing a new to us hymn and somehow picking something more suited to a toddler Sunday School class.  I never laughed so hard in church in my life.  Dean and I could't even sit up straight we were laughing so hard.  Then there was our precious Gayle.  She invited me to church in 1986, and passed away a few years later.  Who knew that when she invited me to that church, I would someday get married in it?  When I learned she passed away, I was helping with VBS that week (Anyone remember JoyTrek space themed VBS?)  It was the closing program, and my friend Shelly got up and sand "Friends" by Michael W. Smith and said Gayle had passed away.  I can remember feeling responsible for my 5th and 6th graders but just wanting to run out and scream "Why God?"  I remember the care in picking out a sympathy card for her family.  It was the first time I ever had to send a sympathy card to a friend's family.

In addition to friends and family from that church, from where we had the group photo I could see my parents' grave.  

Something about that moment gave me chills.   We are here.   Yet we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside
 every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with 
patience the race that is set before us  Hebrews 12:1 KJV

My mother had a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven: 101 Miraculous Stories of Signs from Beyond, Amazing Connections, and Love that Doesn't Die.  In her story she talked about how she made a bit of the journey to the afterlife with her uncle.  I'm not one for what I call "Heaven Tourism" stories, but I remembered what she said about seeing people she knew who had gone before and seeing those she knew would come after her.  I thought of this.

Somehow the cloud of witnesses almost felt tangible on that day.  We are just one small slice of enternity.   The Bible says the average person lives 70 years.  That's a drop in the bucket of time.  No matter how long we live on this earth, it's never long enough.  My husband's grandfather passed away at age 99, yet it still didn't feel long enough as his goal was to live to 100.

We have a small slice of eternity to make a difference.   Let's use it wisely, and remember those who came before us.

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