Teach us to mark our days

A prayer given at the graveside service for my father-in-law:

O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered: Make us, we pray, deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human life; and let your Holy Spirit lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days; that, when we shall have served you in our generation, we may be gathered to our ancestors, having the testimony of a good conscience; in the communion of the Catholic Church; in the confidence of certain faith; in the comfort of a reasonable, religious, and holy hope; in favor with you, our God; and in perfect charity wiht the world. All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The loss of heroes in the time of coronavirus

The past few weeks have been witness to the loss of some giants of the faith in my life. We lost another one recently. I don’t know exactly when, but I just heard yesterday that one of my true heroes, Dwight Palmquist, passed away from brain cancer. He died in the Philippines, the country he loved.

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The tragedies we don’t bemoan

Two separate mass killings over the weekend… at least. No big details. We probably won’t have any “need” for follow up, but just a quick glance down my Yahoo news feed gave headlines of a shooting in Houston leaving 8 dead and a shooting in Vermont that left 4 dead.

Twelve dead in just two separate incidents.

And we probably won’t go beyond a headline for that.

We have a culture of death. We don’t value life at hardly any stage. Unborn. Living. Near death. We have tossed human life to the side and left so little value in our culture.

May our hearts somehow break for the loss of the value of LIFE. Somewhere along the line may the Spirit stir us… causing us to weep… to repent… and to change.

Hear our prayers, O Lord.

The passing from this “life” to the “next”

My grandmother passed away this morning. As I have reflected on her life through the day, I have also been drawn into my own mortality, my walk with Jesus, and thinking of Dallas Willard at his passing.

When Dallas Willard passed, John Ortberg noted Dallas wondered if it would take some time before he knew he had passed from one dimension to another. Ortberg wrote:

He said that a person is a series of conscious experiences, and that for the one who trusts and follows Jesus, death itself has no power to interrupt this life, for Jesus said that the one who trusts in him will not taste death.

My grandmother trusted and followed Jesus. Death has no power over her. We knew she was so ready to “go home.”

I long for my life to be lived in the presence of Jesus. I long for it so deeply that I truly want that experience I know Dallas Willard and probably my grandmother had… it could take awhile before you realize something’s changed in a particular dimension because you’ve walked so closely with Jesus here, it just seems “natural” that, well, here he is.

My grandmother was the constant in my life. Her memory will ever be that place for me. She now sees face to face what she has longed for these past days. She is home.

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That Day When We See Him Face to Face

Through this weekend I have had a couple of situations bring me to the thought of the full presence of God. These songs have been the rhythm of my weekend:

  • I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
  • And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
  • And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
  • If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.


  • In mansions of glory and endless delight,
  • I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
  • I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
  • If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.


And this one:

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

I think of a great pastor who went to be with the Lord a few weeks ago. One of his sayings was this: “I’m homesick for a place I’ve never been.”

O, I want to see him.

We are not good at grieving

Probably over time we will learn more about what caused Jovan Belcher to turn to killing his girlfriend, then driving to the Chiefs training facility and taking his own life.

What puzzles me is the decision for the Chiefs to go on with the game tomorrow. The players apparently want to play. I can understand that to a point. However, what it shows, in my opinion, is our inability to deal with grief. Instead of stopping to process to what happened to a teammate, the opposite thing happened. It is the American thing. We don’t know what to do, so we decide to work.

Somehow, we think it “honors” those have died. We need to stop. We need to grieve. We need to mourn. Our souls hurt. Football… or work… just doesn’t matter. Couldn’t we have the courage to say, “Look… for this day… football just isn’t it. I need to stop and mourn the death of my friend.”

But we work. We “soldier on.”

I just wish we were better at grieving.

Jovan Belcher