...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

On Seeing Loved Ones Again

A colleague's question chilled my spirit when he asked, tongue-in-cheek, "What happens if there's people I don't want to see?"

When it comes to resurrection, none of us can know based on experience. The Bible says lots of things about resurrection and the afterlife but not that much about the details. Biblical talk of who we're going to see doesn't really answer my friend's question, because Scripture's main theme concerns living again, seeing God and being with Jesus in a whole new way.

I think one of the great chasms which we will negotiate is the difference between the way we fashion our lives and even speak of building God's kingdom in the here and now- and the receiving of God's kingdom is gift and grace in the hereafter.

Toward this end, I find the 12th Century mystic Aelred of Rievaulx's description based on Revelation 21:1-22:5 very helpful:

What the kingdom of God will be like we cannot even think, let alone say or write. But this I know, that nothing at all will be missing that you would wish to be there, and nothing at all will be there that you would not wish to be. So there will be no discord, no envy, no tribulation, no temptation, no variable weather, no overcast skies, no suspicion, no ambition, no adulation, no detraction, no sickness, no old age, no death, no poverty, no darkness, no need to eat, drink, sleep, no tiredness, no weakness.

What good then will be lacking? Where there is no mourning or weeping or pain or sadness, what can there be but perfect joy? What is there further for us to seek? To be sure, what surpasses all these things, that is the sight, the knowledge and the love of the Creator. Who can say anything of its beauty, of its light, of its sweetness? For God will be seen as God is, fulfilling the promise which tells us: “Those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and show myself to them.” From this vision will proceed that knowledge of which our Lord says, “This is eternal life, that they should know you are the one God, and him who you sent.”

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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