March 23, 2017

Last week, one of St. Luke’s oldest Sunday School classes had its very last gathering. The “Wedding Ring Class” was made up of incredible leaders and faithful church members, who, for decades, served others and grew in their faith together. To say lifelong friendships were formed would be an understatement. This group was truly a family and cared for one another and other church members, creating an example and inspiration for all that come behind them! I cannot help but feel a little sad to see this group winding down. I have been reminded so often in recent weeks of the inevitable cycle of life. We are all called to make a difference and share God’s love. We are also called to pass this on to others so that even when our days are finished on Earth, others may come behind us to carry on the message of God’s love and hope.

So, how do we make the most of our time here? And how do we not get swallowed up by the sadness that comes with saying goodbye to people we love so dearly?

First of all, being a part of a small group is such an important part of growing in our faith. We experience more in this life when we go on a journey together. Our faith journey is no different. Over the years, I have watched members of the “Wedding Ring Class” celebrate and have fun together in life’s joyous moments and cry and mourn together in the darkest times. No matter what they experienced, they knew they had a group to turn to for support, encouragement and prayer. They leave behind a legacy of not only serving others, but supporting the ministries of the church and actively seeking needs that they could meet to serve others and share God’s love.  If you aren’t a part of a small group, what are you waiting for?

Check out Group Link for more info. on connecting to a small group:
Group Link Info

Second, as Christians, we know that Jesus conquered death! In just a few weeks we will come together to celebrate Easter and the resurrected Savior! He promises us that we will have Eternal life and we celebrate this every Sunday in worship and especially on Easter! There is so much we cannot see with our physical eyes, but there is so much more for us to experience! Living in the light of Easter means knowing that each of our lives on Earth will end one day, but there will be so much to experience beyond this life.  Accepting this also allows us to live more fully in the time we are gifted in this wonderful, scary, awesome, amazing, trying, beautiful experience on Earth! It encourages us to make every day count and to seek God more, so that we might fulfill our purpose.

And third, when you feel overwhelmed by the sadness that is inevitable in this life, remember that gratitude and serving others can often ease the pain.
I celebrated my birthday earlier this week and the staff at St. Luke’s spoiled me with my favorite chocolate cake and so many wonderful cards. I have so much to be grateful for in my life. And even though I have a daily gratitude practice, I can tell you that when I have to say goodbye to friends and family who I love so dearly, I often feel overcome with sadness.  And that is okay. It is the meaningful relationships in our lives that make life so rich and special! Even in these dark times, I force myself to take stock in my own life, to take a moment to be grateful for all that I have and ask God to show me how I can continue to serve others, continually asking, “How can you use me today?”