Tuesday, December 4, 2001
Psalm 80:1-7; 17-19
Stir up thy might, and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let thy face shine, that we may be saved!
Several years ago, as a young physician, trained to prolong life and think of death as life's greatest calamity, I was struck by the words of one of my dying patients. Older than me by many years, this gentleman told me he did not fear death, but instead looked forward to "the greatest adventure of my life." He told me how he anticipated, more than ever, rekindling old relationships and forming new ones with his favorite historical figures.
In the face of what I thought was a great tragedy, this man, whose physical strength was slowly ebbing away, increasingly was finding an inner excitement in his anticipation of the "adventure" that was soon to come.
In a dangerous and uncertain world, we naturally call out to God to save us from physical injury, disease and death, but in the face of life's calamities, it is also good to remember that God shined his light on the world by sending his son to tell us about another type of salvation. The life of Christ and those who follow in his footsteps, are a reminder that inner peace and joy come not from an assurance of protection from the visible uncertainties of life, but through the experience of eternal relationships with others that encompass the unseen forces of love, compassion and forgiveness.
When we know this type of salvation, the days ahead truly can be the "adventure" of our life.
Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for the gift of life on earth, so that we might have the opportunity to learn, through our relationships with others, that true peace and joy comes not from the absence of calamity in our lives, but through the love and friendship of friends and family, and our eternal relationship with you. Amen.