Get ready! For what?

God is here, ready for an encounter with you and me, ready to remind us of who we are: God’s people.

It is a noisy world, however, and the call to remember often gets lost in the hubbub around us and within us. God is present in the noise, but we often forget, lose sight, drift off…

Across Scripture and through the long history of the Church, people have searched out quiet and stillness to get ready for God.

Pause a moment today. Take time to be still, to get ready.

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But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-15

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There are aspects of the Christian walk that bear visible fruit. Loving others as Christ loved us and serving those in need often bring positive change that we can see.

But when it comes to death, we share in common with other religions and the non-religious that, at the end of the day, we simply do not know by our own experience what happens after we die. We have teachings and promises and hopes, but in the details, death remains a mystery.

Paul reminds us of the promise of the resurrection: that to die is not the end of hope, and that our lives are wrapped up in the eternal life of God in Christ. This promise does not mean, though, that death is not still a difficult mystery. Three of my grandparents, one of my godfathers, and a few mentors and friends in my life have died. In each case there was deep sadness and doubt, grief, hope, and faith, all wrestling within me. This is a place in faith where rubber meets road.

Jonathan Chesney

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Oh God, you will not allow anything at all to separate me from your love, but life shows that we are all eventually separated from others that we love. Give me comfort in those times and be with me in sadness, that with grace and trembling hope I might continue to walk towards you, trusting both joy and pain to be good preparation for joining those who have gone before into life eternal. Amen.

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Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who journey the way with us.

So be swift to love and make haste to be kind.

And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us, and remain with us always.

Jonathan Chesney

Jonathan Chesney is the Assistant to the Rector at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Auburn, Alabama. He graduated from seminary last May, is currently serving as a transitional deacon, and, God willing and the people consenting, will be ordained a priest in December!

Teach Me to Stop and Listen

Ken Medema

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