Even Jesus Wanted to Be Remembered

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How about you? 

This day, Christians around the world reflect upon the last event prior to Jesus’ death on the cross. Many churches will hold services to commemorate the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples.

As they shared this meal, Jesus took a loaf of bread, broke it apart and passed it over to his disciples. He said, “Every time you eat this remember me.”  And then He did the same with the wine.

Jesus wanted to be remembered. And he wanted to be remembered for what he was about to do the next day. He wanted them to remember his death on the cross – and the resurrection that would follow three days later.  He wanted each one there to recall the meaning of those events as they continued to live life without his physical presence. It also served as a reminder for them that they too would all die one day.

Today my family remembers someone who was special in our lives, but who is no longer physically present with us – my wife Erica’s father died two years ago today. And through story, we are remembering all the special events and memories of our relationship with him. We remember the footprint he left in our own lives and those around him. We are thankful especially that he remembered in his life to trust God for what was next. 

All of us should consider the footprint we leave following our death and consider what is next for us. 

How will you be remembered?

How do you want to be remembered?

I know for me on this day, I am pleased that God remembered me and still does.

 

 

Warm Fires Burning

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Last night I was sitting next to the fire warming my chilled body. I had to keep the fire going by placing another split log on top of the embers. And then I ran out of wood, and the fire slowly began to die out.

People die. Sometimes we watch them slowly die and it’s difficult. The body dies and becomes cold, but a soul never gets cold, never.

A soul is like those embers that still have the spark of life, reaching out to visit a new place beyond this earth that we call “home”.

Then I added more wood to the top of the embers. The dying embers quickly ignited a new flame – it reminded me of life after death. And I felt that warmth once again.

 

I’m Lost Without My Dad – Jordyn Leopold Style

104-0434_IMG-644x483The trade deadline for the National Hockey League was on March 2, 2015 and one trade stood out amongst the many.

Why?

Because a young daughter had requested the trade of her Dad back to a city where they were living, in the state of Minnesota. She said in the letter that fell into the hands of the general manager, “I am lost without my Dad. Can you please ask the Jackets (the team he was currently player for) if you guys can get him?”

They had been separated and the love and time they once had was not possible because of the circumstance. I listened to the interview of Jordan Leopold describing the beautiful reunion as Daddy touched down at the airport and was greeted by all of his children and his wife. I had some tears.

I have spent time with many children whose parent had died. I hear the same words over and over: “I miss Daddy,” or translated, “I am lost without my Dad.”  It’s so hard for the remaining spouse or family members to tell children that Daddy is not coming home. He died.

That deep longing, missing, wishing for more time does not easily pass.

My faith says that God has written me a letter to confirm the reunion of those who died with their loved ones and friends. It’s found in the writing of John’s Gospel. It says:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I have gone ahead to prepare a place for you.”

I like that kind of hope, that kind of reunion. I am lost. Death will separate us from each other but the promise of a time again is a powerful reunion to look forward to with great anticipation.

 

 

Another Year

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Each birthday is yet another transition: a year older to think about where life was at this time last year and where it may take you next.

I like transitions. Not that I desire to go through them often, but they lead me to ask some deeper questions, to appreciate the blessings of life and to realize that you can make it through life and its challenges.

That pretty well sums up life, doesn’t it?

Life does bring its challenges, but that’s okay.  It’s what you do with them that is important.

Life also brings its blessings. It is knowing what they are and appreciating each one for its unique place in your life.

Life does present its opportunities.  What will you do with them as you step out in courage to explore what these might be each and every day?

Grief is a challenge, a blessing and an opportunity. Think about each one of them as you transition through loss, because life is still present for you. And you might be blessed to have another year to live in this wonderful world.

Believe It or Not

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The sign said that the boulder was 10,000 pounds. It was at the entrance to the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum in Baltimore. I gazed at the huge sphere for a few moments and pondered its immense weight: “Ten thousand pounds? How on earth did it get there in the first place?” I wondered.

When someone dies, our first reaction is disbelief. Often, our first words are, “I can’t believe they’re gone…” For some, we find ourselves saying those words for a number of days as we succumb to the shocking truth that we will never see that person in this life again. That’s hard.

It really is a time of “believe it or not” and one of the heaviest burdens that weighs us donw as we begin our grief work.

I never went into the museum nor did I find out how that boulder was placed there in the entrance. But it was, by someone somehow. I imagine that if a stone were brought there, it could also be removed.

Know that the weight of your grief will slowly roll away. It may not seem like it at the present moment. But, believe it or not, it will.

 

Finding the M&Ms in Life

Each time our grandchildren come to visit us and each time they leave, I learn something that only a child can teach me about the important things in life.

As I was cleaning up following their visit, I found one small M&M on the floor in the corner next to the kitchen table.

Connor our young grandson, likes to pick through the trail mix of cashews, walnuts and peanuts to find the M&M’s. He finds all of them and leaves the rest.

He finds those things that are the sweetest and best in his eyes.  I have watched him finger through patiently, sorting through the various nuts. “Look Pa,” he says, smiling at me, fingers sticky with a mixture of salt and M&M dye.

When you are going through grief, you need to discover the M&M’s of life and know that they do exist.

M&M’s for me mean gratitude.  Even though you have experienced something so difficult in your life, and it’s hard to find something good, if you really dig through the nuts and bolts of your every day experience you will find and discover something beautiful and wonderful.

Small discoveries found in gratitude give me hope that life is still worth living and is still good.  It helps me realize that if I look, I will find and discover that life is still very much worth living to the fullest even through it may take a while for my joy to return.

“Hey Connor, give me one of those M&M’s.”  “Here, Pa!” he grins.  And he put it in my mouth.  And it was good!

Hamburger Soup

Hamburger-Soup-1024x682A long time ago in Yellowknife there was hamburger soup…

I had not seen her for over 28 years.  She was a special lady who used to serve us her famous hamburger soup.  That was the first time that I had ever tried it. It was delicious! The recipe is still in our recipe box.  I love it now as much as the day I first tried it.

This particular Sunday, 28 years later, she came to church, hoping to find me there.  I had missed the previous Sunday when she had been there for the first time. She had just moved to my town to be near her family.  Why? Because her husband had recently died.

Following the service I noticed her from a distance and she came running and embraced me and cried. A familiar face. A person who had known her husband. A pastor from long ago who understood this “heaven stuff”.

I picked up the church recipe book the other day.  Many people had included their favorite recipes. The recipe book was now eight years old. I flipped through it and noticed a number of the names attached to the recipes – so many were no longer with us any longer but in heaven now.

There was Pam’s name too – my wife who had died almost six years ago. And then I went and found the hamburger soup recipe and was reminded once again that we will all eat again together – but this time we’ll enjoy a “forever feast” in heaven with loved ones.