As I write this, spring has arrived — not as the calendar says, but real spring.
The grass is growing. The lawnmowers are humming. The birds are chirping happily. Bulbs that were peaking out of the ground days ago are in full bloom. Soon, hundreds of farmers will be out in the fields, preparing for planting. It's an absolutely wonderful time of the year. Life is bursting forth everywhere.
The last several months have been very difficult for me. After I got the wonderful news of my call to be the interim pastor at Salem United Church of Christ in Alhambra, I called my Mom immediately, telling her I'd be home soon to spend a lot more time with her and Dad. Suddenly and unexpectedly, she died four days later, five days before her birthday and a week before Christmas. After my Mom's passing, my Dad moved to Faith Countryside Homes in Highland. About the time my Dad was adjusting to his new life, he got pneumonia and died the day before Easter.
It's been a bittersweet winter. In the midst of all this sadness, Salem United Church of Christ has been an oasis of kindness and compassion. I know I wouldn't be doing as well without the love and support of this wonderful church. Thank you.
Many portions of Scripture come to mind as I go through the grieving process. I think the most comforting are these two:
▪ "I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)
▪ "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4)
God is comforting me through family, friends, and a supportive faith community. I pray that all of you who are reading this have such a support system. I thank God, I do.