Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Wishes

Jan's struggle with cancer is nearing its' end. While I'm tempted to reflect upon the paradoxical nature of this happening during the Christian world's celebration of Christ's resurrection, I'll instead defer to something that I've been reminded of in different ways several times this week.
The Sermon on the Mount showed itself to me on several occasions the last few days, the last time this morning while I had Turner Classic Movies on, and they were running trailers of upcoming films. On reading it again I thought it was highly appropriate to both the nature of public discourse and my wife's impending departure from our mortal world to share it with as many as I could.
Matthew 5:1-12
The Beatitudes
1Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:
3"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


When I read these words, I ask myself how someone who strives to be truly Christlike can remain relevant in the world of ideas as it exists today. Then I spent some time talking with friends of Jan who had come by to visit, and afterward I held Jan's hand, stroked her hair, and came to realize a couple of things:

1. Relevance, as anything else, is not something that is under our control. God decides how we will be relevant to the work and plan He has for us. I've worried in the past about staying relevant at work with all of the things that have happened with Jan over the last year and a half. I'm not worrying anymore.

2. If the response of friends and family is any indication, Jan has had a much more profound influence on people's lives than anyone could have previously predicted. This from a largely reserved but highly driven and committed woman of faith who found a gift and a plan to use it, and went from there. While imperfect like all of us, Jan always seemed to strive for understanding over creating barriers between people who shared a common mission, but may have disagreed with how to accomplish it. While she was not always successful, I feel that she tried her best, and I feel deeply indebted to her for teaching and nurturing our son and myself.
I will take those lessons down whatever path God has intended for me.

I see so many examples of doubt today, from the ongoing intolerance of religious extremism (both here and abroad) to the worship of celebrity and material wealth, and even the frenzy to find physical evidence of the Nativity or the Resurrection so as to try to empirically establish what Christians know by faith. Jan's struggle enforces what to me is a critical lesson along life's path; that our faith establishes and maintains the Kingdom of God on Earth.

Consider this a wish for peace to you at Easter and in the future. Maybe the Sermon on the Mount should be required reading for bloggers and talk radio hosts from now on.

Take care and God bless.

No comments: