Lament and Resurrection

To be a minister is to be a witness to suffering, and to walk with those who suffer. Alongside doctors and social workers, I feel as though it has to be one of the more painful vocations.

To be a minister is to hold the pain of the world in your heart as you groan for its redemption, longing for new creation.

To be a minister is to have the responsibility of comforting the weeping while myself silently asking, “Why, God? Have you forgotten us?” To offer up my strength to the weary, while myself feeling utterly broken and burdened, letting the tears come only when no one can see.

To be a minister is to be a witness to the brokenness and sorrow and death all around me, to cry out on behalf of humanity that things should not be this way.

Yet…to be a minister is also to be a witness to the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ.

To cry out with conviction that things will not always be this way.

It is to preach and sing and live and proclaim forgiveness and reconciliation and healing and hope.

To witness to the story of resurrection in the dawning of each new day, in the first blooms of spring, in the redemption of a troubled past, in reconciliation after separation, in love after loss, in an empty tomb on Easter morning.

It is to know and proclaim with certainty that death cannot take our loved ones from us, because from their conception to eternity, they live and are safe in the arms of the Good Shepherd.

To be a minister is to be given the gift of proclamation – Hope springs eternal. Christ is all, and in all, and through all. The dwelling of God will be with his people, and God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. All shall be well, and all shall be well…and all manner of things shall be well.

Praise God.

 

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Published in: on February 29, 2016 at 10:15 pm  Comments (3)  
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resurrection

Awake, Christian — see the light of coming dawn and rise up from death.

Christ didn’t leave His tomb for you to stay in yours; the stone has been rolled away and every chain is broken.

Jesus Christ has defeated death and sits in power at the right hand of God Almighty.

The same strength which raised Him to life is at work in you.

How can you rejoice on Easter morning if you haven’t been set free?

This is a truth that cannot be half-heartedly believed.  This is a truth that must be lived.

If it matters that Jesus didn’t stay dead, let it make a difference in you.

Rise up, Christian.

Resurrection is waiting.

Published in: on March 30, 2013 at 10:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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To the Memory of Panthea

I have a weird love of cemeteries. Most people find them creepy; I find them almost peaceful, hushed and bittersweet. When the birds sing in the trees above the gravestones, their songs seem almost melancholy. Yet I love to read the inscriptions, get to know the meanings of the different engravings, wonder who these people were and what they were like. It makes me feel a little sad at times, but it’s a good kind of sad. A reflective kind of sad that makes me think about my own life and what people will say about me after I’m gone. Anyway, enough of the eloquent musings.

One memorial stone that I have never been able to get out of my head is that of Panthea Adams Carter, laid to rest in an iron fence within the Bethsalem Cemetery on the top of a lonely hill just outside of Wartrace, Tennessee. I think about her, but mostly I think about her husband Charley. And the tears come to my eyes as I imagine his pain, but I know that he too is long ago passed and mourned and reunited with his beloved Panthea and their son, whom he had with him for far too short a time. In the poem he wrote to be engraved on her tombstone, you can hear the bittersweet aching of his heart as he struggled to find words that conveyed his grief mingled with the fond memories of the woman he loved.

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Erected to the memory of Panthea and the little infant, Charles Murat, that sleeps in her arms. She was the wife of C.C. Carter and the youngest daughter of Daucey and Martha Adams: Born in Halifax Co., N.C., Dec. 28, 1828.  Married Dec. 22, 1851 and died March 23, 1856.  Aged 27 years, 2 months, and 21 days.

I loved her when the bloom of health / Was fresh upon her cheek / I loved her when her kindly voice / In gentle tones would speak / I loved her when her sunny smile / Was lighting up her brow / Her voice is hushed, Panthea’s gone / I love her memory now.

I loved her when I saw the rose / Upon her cheek decay / I loved her yet I knew that she / Must shortly pass away / I loved her when beneath life’s storm / I saw her meekly bow / The storm is passed and she is gone / I love her memory now.

One hundred and fifty-five years later, as the world rushes madly by in their vain pursuits of wealth and pleasure, unaware of this dearly loved woman sleeping beneath the last poem her husband wrote her, she will not be forgotten. For I see the stone and read the inscription and remember Panthea – and now I’m sharing the memory with you.

Published in: on December 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm  Comments (2)  
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Eternal Life Starts Now

Today I found out that someone I’ve known for a very long time has cancer. She’s expected to live 6 months with treatment, 3 months without. Cancer sucks. I hardly knew how to react to the news. But since I’m an English major, I decided to cry and blog about it.

Death is never an easy thing to accept. But the reality is… she’s going to be okay. These next few months may not be great. They may be filled with anxiety. They may be filled with pain. But she’s going to live through it. That’s the amazing thing about being in Christ: eternal life starts now.

It’s not some distant concept that maybe her spirit will go through a little tunnel of light to the “other side.” No. Her heart will skip one beat and then go on to continue pumping blood. Just a blip in the eternal heart monitor. No harm done. Because eternal life begins the moment we accept Christ… and thereafter nothing can touch us.

Published in: on June 21, 2011 at 10:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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