Who doesn't love the month of April? Sunshine...warm sunshine! The azaleas in my yard are blooming, and will soon be followed by the dogwoods. And with the Spring and the change in seasons comes the end of the multitudinous viruses and maladies that have been so prevalent this past winter. It's all good. Spring is really here!
But for me, the start of April has been a dark one. I feel like a psalmist needing to cry out to God something like, "Death surrounds me!". A large part of my role as a public safety chaplain is responding to the worst moments in peoples' lives - when a loved one dies. For some reason it seems I can only remember one in the first three months of 2017. For that I am grateful.
Yet, this past weekend, April 1 and 2 found me at two homes, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday, helping wives and children and a mother, through the hardest day of their lives. And then, Monday morning I received a message that a friend's toddler granddaughter tragically and accidentally lost her life the day before.
Three days. Three deaths. (And no, I'm not superstitious about the number three.) And later this week I've been asked to restore four crosses that memorialize a tragedy that took the life away from four teenagers and the breath away from our community eighteen years ago.
Death is the inevitable part of life that no one can avoid. Some get to "put it off" and live long lives. One of my chaplain calls was to the home of a gentleman 74 years on the earth. He had been ill for some time and his passing was not a surprise to his family at all.
Others don't make it to their "threescore and ten". The second of the three was a 49 year old husband and father. He didn't even know he was sick until the week before he died, and even then it was totally unexpected. And of course, the toddler...no one could have seen that coming.
I was sharing with my men's small group last night these events, asking them to pray for the three families. And in line with the study we're doing reminded them of the urgency that is part and parcel to sharing the Good News of Christ with others in our realms of influence. The Gospel is an urgent message to be spoken and lived because it is the only hope beyond the grave. And no one knows when that day will come for any of us.
Do you live life with that sense of urgency guiding your thoughts, words, actions?