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Carry the weight

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Luke 25:7-8
On this mountain the Lord will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth.

The Lord has spoken.

I have a few friends who bring Grace to the nursing homes where they work. Not many of us enjoy that environment. The sights, sounds and smells of failure, of disease, of despair, of exhaustion and impending death overwhelm us.

But not these friends. God\'s spirit precedes them from room to room, and somehow they see the same people and things differently than the rest of us. They are wearing God-colored glasses, maybe. They seem to live on the mountain Isaiah longs for, the mountain God's promise describes with such certainty. They walk the halls of nursing homes, "removing the disgrace of his people."

I have been with them. I see the refreshment in the lives of those they touch. Picking up a few things from Aunt Mary\'s room at St. Clara\'s Manor, watching Mom receive hugs and kisses and tears from some of those nurses and aides, I cried too. Not for Aunt Mary, and not in sadness but in gratitude. I too am refreshed by their love, their confidence, by their joy in the face of death, in the mouth of despair. Those awful jaws of old and ugly loss never close, held open by the outstretched arms of God\'s warriors. The children of peace.

Death will still come to my body during this in-between time of God\'s kingdom - when his Kingdom (1) is accomplished, (2) is being accomplished and (3) will be accomplished. (See what God does to our concept of time!) Death has come to Aunt Mary\'s body. Today at her funeral, however, we will get a glimpse of the top of God\'s mountain, and we can do nothing less than celebrate. Our sadness will pass away, our tears will pass away.

And in their time our tired old bodies will certainly pass away. Then what remains lives forever. With disgrace removed, tears dried, disease healed, now it\'s time with live with Jesus.

Lord, hold me up. You abide in me; let me know the joy and peace of abiding in you.

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