Thursday, August 31, 2006
Joys of Long Ministry
I'm stalling on writing an eulogy for tomorrow's memorial service, for a beloved man in the congregation. The service will include the musical group in which he sang for 45 years and the telling of how he and his wife lived next door to the forest rangers of Capitan, New Mexico, who rescued a baby bear from a forest fire and nursed it back to health to become the posterbear of the "Only YOU can prevent Forest Fires."
An injured orphan bear healed and became an inspiration to children and adults everywhere to take care of the forests we live around. Likewise, Frank's life story is one of facing great difficulty and pain and staging a recovery into happiness and productivity.
On Saturday, I'll be officiating at the marriage of a couple whose first spouses died at about five years ago. I presided at Janet's memorial service, and feel now so privileged to be a part of launching Charlie and Glorya's life together. (well into their 70's, they met on-line, and their love and joy is palpable.) And on Sunday morning, we'll dedicate and welcome the adopted second child of a church family whose profoundly handicapped first child we dedicated a year and a half ago.
It is touching and inspiring to me to see people through the ups and downs of their lives. May I remember, when it is my turn to suffer outrageous fortune, that as long as there is life there is potential for healing, learning, service, and joy.