From the Pastors' Desks

Cemeteries

Joanne and I had a wonderful little get-away early this week. We spent one night in Cadillac, had some terrific Mexican food, and then wandered across the street for a twilight stroll in the cemetery. Cemeteries are good for the soul. As we walked through the quiet forest of gravestones, the brevity of life, the certainty of death, and the hope of resurrection were as real as the earth and as true as the quiet beauty surrounding us. Each stone represents a life, just like mine - a life filled with family and summer mornings and work and love and sin. And every stone marks the inexorable reality of death. We all must die. And then they put the dates of your short existence on a stone and place it over where your body lies – and that’s all we have of this world.
But those stones can testify as well. We came across this tombstone, set by itself, quietly trumpeting the wonder of our Lord. “Nothing Satisfies but Jesus.” That’s quite a statement in a cemetery, a final word after a full life.
Helen knew love and heartache. Her beloved husband died when he was only 35. Disease? Tragic accident? We don’t know. But Helen stood right there and buried his body, still in its prime. She walked on for 30 more years, apparently never remarried, and then joined him here. I’m assuming the epitaph is hers. She had known all that this world gives – the goodness and the pain - and had come to this simple and profound conclusion: nothing satisfies but Jesus. It is so intensely true.

It’s good to live a life that way. It allows you to enjoy the blessings without being greedy for them and suffer the losses without being overwhelmed. The gifts are good but they aren’t our life, and they don’t ultimately satisfy. Not love, not sex, not money, not fame, not whatever dream you have set your heart upon. Only Jesus can quench the thirst of a human soul. Only Jesus, in all his beauty and love and patience and grace and power and glory can give joy to a grieving heart and strength to a weary soul and eternal life to those who must die. And He does. Oh, yes, He does! 
As we were making our way out of the cemetery, this shaft of light settled on the ground like the pathway home. What a day it will be when Christ appears and every body stands in the light of His radiant glory – some to everlasting bliss and others to everlasting sorrow. Lead me safely home, Lord Jesus. Lead me safely home.
Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dale

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