The Beginning and End

” . . . the first and the last . . . “

“I, the Lord, was there at the beginning,
 and I, the Lord, will be there at the end.” (Isaiah 41:4)

“‘I am the first and the last,’ says the Lord God Almighty, who is, who was, and who is to come.”
(Revelation 1:8)
In our neck of the woods it’s not a matter of if but when the next daily downpour will occur.  We’ve been deluged by a long succession of storms that have left the ground squishy and sponge-like.  One of the results has been the fast proliferation of a multitude of different fungi sprouting their fruit on the surface of our lawns.  The fungi come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures, including the one below which functions as a goblet to hold water for passersby.
 
It’s an amazing life cycle when you stop to consider it.  The real body of the fungus (or mushroom) lives beneath the surface, and uses the extra moisture provided by the rain to form its fruit that we see above the ground.  The fruit then disperses the spores necessary for the life cycle to continue.  Seeing all the fungal fruit started me wondering about our life cycle.

Yesterday Patti got up from her sleep in time to eat and return to her next night shift at the hospital as a nurse in the newborn nursery.  I walked in the door to grab a bite to eat with her and share a few moments before heading back out again myself.  She began to tell me the story of a birth she witnessed the night before and said, “I just stood there and prayed, ‘Please God, just let this little baby take its first breath.'”  (It did, and is fine.)  I responded, “That’s really interesting.  I just stood in a hospital room and prayed, ‘Please, God, just let this man take his last breath peacefully.'”

Patti and I were working at both ends of the life cycle on Monday. Beginnings and endings are important – as well as all that stuff in the middle – and beyond.  Our lives are filled with so many complex experiences, reactions, and emotions.  From laughter to sorrow, from joy to sadness, from victory to defeat, from discovery to puzzlement, from understanding to mystery, we ride the roller coaster of life both savoring the thrill and dreading some of the turns.

We have rituals at both ends of the journey, baptisms and funerals, to mark the significance of our lives, but more importantly, to utter one important word, the same word Patti and I both spoke on Monday, “God.”  Knowing God holds the beginning and the end, makes the difficulties and mysteries of the middle and beyond seem so much easier to manage.  What a promise, “I, the Lord, was there at the beginning, and I, the Lord, will be there at the end.”  I can’t explain it.  I can only offer it.  Give into the promise and enjoy life with the assurance and peace of God.  

I pray that God will continue to help me live into and offer the promise of divine love in Christ, from beginnings to endings, and beyond.   How about you?

Blessings and Peace,

Gary

Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.
Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24
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~ by revgenelson on July 8, 2015.

One Response to “The Beginning and End”

  1. So relevant. .. Thank you Gary.

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