The Oasis - September 11, 2019

Author: Rev. Dan Hollis
September 11, 2019

September 11, 2019
by Pastor Dan

     There’s something that’s been coming up in conversation for me several times over the last couple of months. I think it comes up a lot because it’s such a common human reality. We have a bad relationship with someone who’s important to us—maybe it’s a parent, or a child, or a sibling, or an old friend—and then they pass away… and it’s too late to mend that relationship. To fix things. To make it right. Sometimes it isn’t even chronic, either, like a family argument that’s been festering for decades; sometimes it’s acute—an argument that took place the day before a car accident. Too late to un-ring the bell, and not enough time to make amends. We always think we’ll have time, don’t we?
     But we don’t always have that time. And in the aftermath of a loss we find ourselves racked with all kinds of complicated emotions. But I want to tell you what I’ve told several people over the last couple of months. And it’s something that comes from my firm belief that there is something beyond this life. Call it eternal life, or the afterlife, or any of the inadequate human words we have to describe the deeper truth God speaks to our hearts, people of faith believe that life doesn’t end with death. The loving presence of God waits for us on the other side of this world, and I think we each have our own ideas about what that looks like or means. The ones who wrote the Bible certainly had their own different interpretations.
     When I think about eternity, I think about just how long that is. (At least until my head explodes from trying to contemplate infinity.) And I don’t believe that it’s just a big pause-button in the sky. I don’t think that who we are the day we die is who we will always be, and that our story ends there. We’ll be in the presence of God, for years beyond counting! I think the person we are on the day of our death and the person we are even 10 years after starting our life eternal will be very different. They’d have to be! Can you imagine not learning or growing or changing in 10 years on Earth,  let alone in Heaven?
     And if that’s true, then I think it’s true about relationships too. Especially for the ones that don’t end with closure or amends. The broken relationships cut short before they can be mended. I believe that joy, love, and healing don’t end with a person’s earthly death, and I believe that everything can get better.
     I think God’s promise of new life also promises that nothing ever has to stay the same. That the love we build in this life and the relationships we forge are only the first steps on a journey of growth that continues on, even after we lose sight of the ones we love behind the veil of death.
     And so we pray. And we talk to the ones we’ve lost. We apologize when we have to, and we forgive even if it’s hard. And we live in faith that when it’s our time to cross into whatever comes next, the people waiting for us on the other side will have done the same.
     I’m sure they’ll have a lot to teach us. And we will have an eternity ahead of us to learn.
     Thanks be to God.

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Pastor Dan’s Song of the Week:  “How Did You Love,” by Shinedown

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