Live Like You Were Dying: The Season of Lent

2:47 PM

Hello friends! Once again, I'm sharing some words of wisdom from Pastor Matt at St. Pauls. I don't have to go back into how much I love my job, as I've talked about it in several posts, but I will say that one of my great joys in working here is that I get to hear Pastor Matt speak on a regular basis.

This Sunday is the first Sunday of Lent. We began the season on Wednesday night with the words, "You are dust. And to dust you shall return." With a kickoff like that it is no wonder that Lent has a reputation for dreariness. But as I said on Wednesday, I believe that the realization, "I am going to die" can help you start your life. Heaven may be guaranteed but it is unknowable. And meanwhile, there is clear and present beauty all around us, songs and people and relationships! All perishable. All passing, all waiting to delight and enlighten even as the moment fades.
In the novel Gilead, elderly Rev. Ames is dying, but even as his thoughts turn to heaven he cannot take his eyes off earth. "I feel sometimes as if I were a child who opens its eyes on the world once and sees amazing things it will never know any names for and has to close its eyes again. I know this is all mere apparition compared to what awaits us, but it is only lovelier for that. There is a human beauty in it. And I can't believe that, when we have all been changed and put on incorruptibility we will forget our fantastic condition of mortality and impermanence, the great bright dream of procreating and perishing that meant the whole world to us . . . I don't imagine any reality putting this one in the shade entirely. And I think piety forbids me to try."
Reverend Ames says "piety forbids" him to try imagining a better world than ours. By this he means that God made this life and to spend it as an interim imagining heaven's better perfection is an insult to our creator. For everything in your life comes from God: Everything! Everything you have, every gift you claim as your own. From those things that you were born with to the skills you've labored to perfect. From the ineffable to the easily explainable, the mysterious to the material, it all comes from God. And none of it is permanent. A time to cry, a time to be glad, a leap for joy, the ache of nostalgia, hope for the future, contentment after a hard day's work, the sense of dissatisfaction that drives you toward tomorrow, the love of your family, the laughter of friends, the taste of food, the warmth of home, all of it from the hand of God. And all of it impermanent. Dust to dust? A fact as true as breathing. So let's not waste a second. It's time to live!
To everyone observing Lent, best wishes. To all else, I hope you enjoyed the read.

In Him,

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