April 02, 2006

Light in the Darkness

We had a number of visitors in church today; they sat in the seats normally occupied by those members who forgot to set their clocks forward for Daylight Savings. Mostly they were family and friends of the members who did remember, and they were visiting from out of town.

The preacher (that is, me) preached on death. He talked of loved ones who have died, or will soon die. He talked about Jesus' prediction of his own death, and how his disciples didn't want to hear it. He talked of congregations dying.

The preacher wondered if maybe it was too much. It was an unusually somber service, although the preacher did not neglect to mention hope and new life. There is always hope and new life.

After the sermon, the congregation was especialy quiet. The children playing in the yard (those whose attention span had reached its limit sometime before the pastoral prayer) could be heard shouting and laughing.

At the end of the service, the pastor, figuring he might as well go for broke, said a pastoral word about the board's decision to eliminate the secretary's position. It's a touchy subject, one he'd been avoiding for several weeks.... Then he spoke the benediction.

After the service, however---during the time of fellowship---the people came alive. They did not seem to be a people without hope. They know that the light still shines in the darkness, and it shines brightly. They get it.

Death. New life. Hope for the future. It isn't too much. It's just right.

Curiously enough, it seems that God agrees. As I finished writing this little essay, the song "This Little Light of Mine" came on the radio....

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