Why Am I Still Here?

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV

“Why am I still here?” Sal used to ask me. To understand his question, you need to know that Sal had just turned one hundred years old. Everyone around him had made a big fuss, but Sal couldn’t help wondering why he was still on earth while almost everyone he had known was gone. It was hard for me to put an adequate answer into words the day he asked me, but maybe now these many years later I am beginning to understand.

We are still here because it pleases God. This part is a mystery, the which we may only glimpse in little moments that the Bible calls, “Through a glass darkly”. Those moments when we do not understand clearly but we trust God are the footsteps of faith by which we walk.

We are still here, because while Sal lived, He remained an example for us. Even at His age, Sal was a handsome man, with a large powerful frame but entirely reliant on young nurses or whoever happened to be close by to even bring him coffee. Yet when it came time to sing, Sal’s deep bass voice, carried a melody to our ears that told us He was still trusting Jesus with all his heart. Sal and all of those like him are still here, like God’s light houses, shining their single beam in the darkness, they help guide us who follow after.

We are still here because in a fast paced, self-focused world, people like Sal give us someone to serve. They are “The least of these my brothers” that Jesus told us of. Their needs, that require our help are for our mutual blessing, because one day, Jesus will help us see that all we did in love was done for Him. One day in heaven Sal’s question will be answered and together we will see beyond the darkness there meet Jesus – face to face!

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Included in God’s Community

 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:10 ESV

Today’s verse talks about us being God’s people and members in a community. It reminds me of a small town near where we used to live that had a sign as you entered that said, “Welcome to Nicholson: Home of 1500 friendly people and a few cranks!” We always laughed when we saw it, and even though we lived far out in the surrounding countryside, it gave us a sense of belonging – even if some of our neighbors were cranks! As Americans, we rightly prize our personal freedoms, but sometimes our emphasis on individualism leaves us failing to see ourselves as a part of a community. We become like the lyrics from the old Simon and Garfunkel song, “I am a rock, I am an Island.” For those in long-term care, this often leads to a disconnection that means no one calls us on our birthday, sends a Mother’s Day card or comes to visit at Thanksgiving. Sure, there are other residents, but the people who once formed our community are now absent. Sons and daughters, live in other states, grandchildren have no idea how to communicate if you’re not on Tik-Tok and even pastors are usually too busy to stop in and visit. How can we make a difference?

But instead of offering you a practical list of things to do, let me relate a personal story, that may help you to see how you can be a part of connecting people to community.

When I was still a landscaper, we worked for an older couple, named Al and Eleanor Castelli. Though the Castelli’s were a nice enough customers, they also were quite demanding. But as Al’s health began to decline, and dementia set in, Eleanor sometimes asked me to sit with Al while she went shopping. While she went to the store, I would listen to Al’s stories of growing up in the Bronx, working as a salesman at a radio station and how his mom made the best Italian food on the planet! For the next four years, we became friends. During that time period I was gradually retiring from my business, but I continued to do odd jobs for Eleanor, sit with Al and when he entered a nursing facility, it was only natural to come and visit. The highlight of those visits was an afternoon I came in to sing Christmas carols, and we ended up with an audience of a dozen people who were singing along! You see, it isn’t the “big” things we do, the formal ministries or the charities that we donate to that make the most difference. God’s community is bonded together by a series of our choices as the love of Jesus Christ flows out through our everyday lives and leads people to Him. That love always begins with Him, but God is asking us to help Him make the connection!

Making lives meaningful in old age — Otrazhenie

“The problem with medicine and the institutions it has spawned for the care of the sick and the old is not that they have had an incorrect view of what makes life significant. The problem is that they have had almost no view at all. Medicine’s focus is narrow. Medical professionals concentrate on repair of […]

via Making lives meaningful in old age — Otrazhenie

Arms Around the World

Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them and say; “Truly I say to you, as you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.”

One night recently one of the reporters on the news said we shouldn’t panic about the Corona virus in China because it seems to only kill the old and weak. I confess that I was only half listening and didn’t give it much thought at the time. But the next day as I was singing for people at the nursing home and watching the faces of my precious friends it hit me those old and weak folks that the reporter mentioned are our moms, dads, older brothers and friends.

Though we as believers shouldn’t be fearfully hiding at home we need to recall what Jesus had to say about people considered helpless and less valued in this world. Instead of running in fear we should first pray. Ask God for His grace to help and then ask what we can do to put our arms around all of His family all over the world!

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