This is from a few weeks ago. Fortunately the scene we witnessed at the run had a happy ending.
Last time I was here I talked about how I hadn’t been paying much attention to god and what he was up to, and I prayed that I’d do better. As you know, you have to be careful what you wish for.
A few weeks ago I was participating in a cancer walk with and for my dad who is fighting pancreatic cancer. Prior to the walk there were some speakers, notably a woman whose husband had recently died. She talked about the way her husband lived prior to his death. He made plans, he spent time with his kids, he did the things he thought were important. His widow said that he was not defined by his expiration date, that is, the life expectancy he was given by his doctor, an expiration that he out-lived by a couple years.
Then during the race, my family, and the rest of those at the race, were reminded in a horrible and tragic way that all of us, not just those with cancer, have an expiration date, and that none of us know when that date is. Any of us could go at any time. Now as Christians, we have prepared for what will happen to us after we die. But where I think we drop the ball is in how we live in the meantime.
Jesus talked about a new heaven and new earth. But he also talked a lot about this earth and our role in it. In the prayer many of us have memorized, he prayed “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” I think he’s counting on us for that. Jesus said that we, the hands and feet of Jesus, will do greater things than he did. To know what that means, I think we can look at the the life of Jesus. He loved his enemies, told the story of the Samaritan who did that, and then instructed us to love our enemies. He spent time with the poor and outcast, and he told the story of those who received their inheritance because they welcomed the stranger, fed the hungry, and visited the prisoner.
The woman at the cancer walk spoke about living boldly and wildly in spite of our expiration date. Who better to do this than folks who shouldn’t be worried about our expiration date in the first place.
So as we sit quietly together for a bit to remember the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, let’s not just remember him, let’s be inspired to do something.
We will all expire. In the meantime, we have been called by the creator of the universe to participate in bringing reconciliation and redemption and renewal to the world. We have not been called to bury our talent and wait for the master to return. But instead to bring our gifts to the world, to our neighbors and neighborhoods, to the lost and alone, and to strangers and enemies. We are not called to live a life of fear, but of reckless love, to work to fulfill the prayer of Jesus, to bring about god’s kingdom on earth.