The Seasons of Life and Death
- Written by Lon Lorton Lon Lorton
“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” Psalm 85:6
Looking back over the years of newsletters, I realize how “seasonal” they are. Just as the calendars remind us of birthdays, Easter, and Christmas, our newsletters typically remind us of those days and more. In this month of July, we celebrate Independence Day. Many people prophesy we are in our last days as a thriving nation, saying we have strayed too far from God’s plan of “freedom of religion” to our current state of “freedom from religion.” Our church newsletters still reference holy days like Christmas and Easter. Much of our culture, though, has decided on Happy Holidays, Winter Celebrations, and Spring Breaks. Without revival, I do believe America will simply become the next great nation to rise and fall. That is my opinion, and I’ll leave it there for you to consider.
I’m not so much in the mood to argue about the politics of religion. Over the past several weeks, my attention has turned from questions of nations living or dying to the certainty of individuals not living forever. We have had our share of sickness and death in our midst. Just last Saturday, I officiated at the funeral of Frances Cole, a saint and pillar of our congregation. She was 90 and had been a member of FPC for nearly 70 years. Before the day was over, Rob called from Vanderbilt to let us know that Madeline and Jonathan Stocke had placed the hand of their month-old baby Jack into the hand of their Lord. Jack knew so little of this world; Frances was weary and worn from all her years in it. It’s not a stretch for me to picture the two of them, together now in the presence of God, both of them children of the Father and totally in His presence. To top off the weekend, Joe Howard joined the church on Sunday. What a blessing! Joe had joined the old Main Street Presbyterian Church when he was eight, and now after nearly eight decades and a life story that took him away from here, God has brought him back. Joe told me he knew he needed to re-join – for himself and to leave the family a legacy that “God and church matter.”
We can argue for generations about the politics of what our nation and this world need. But as we do that, to some degree we have lost out on opportunities to simply share our Jesus with someone who needs Him. Death always seems to surprise us. It seems to almost always come too soon. There are too often things we wish we would have said. Other times we wish we’d kept our mouths shut. My own experience over the past few weeks leads me to the verse Joe and I talked about, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” Psalm 90:12