The Source of All Life

” . . . the source of all life . . . ”
“You are the source of all life,
    and because of your light we see the light.” (Psalm 36:9)
I’m back.  No, you weren’t dropped from the Wednesday Wondering’s mailing list.  As one of my colleagues said at the hospital before my surgery, “Gary, you’ve had a unique Advent.”  In addition to all the hustle and bustle of the season, I performed seven funerals and memorial services since Thanksgiving, one of them being my father’s, who passed away about a week before Christmas.  I also tore a tendon loose in my arm trying to help move a refrigerator for our church’s thrift store and had to have the tendon surgically re-attached four days before Christmas – thus, my friend’s presence at the hospital and comment about my Advent season.  I was on emotional overload and for part of the time only had one typing hand, so I decided to acknowledge my limitations and give Wednesday Wonderings a break for a few weeks.
Even now I find myself emotionally and physically ramping back up very gradually.  It’s amazing how God can help us get through so much; however, it’s also not unusual that on the other side of our travails we need some extra patience with our selves to get back up to speed.  “Patience is my friend,” is my motto of the month.
Christmas Eve was particularly joyful and difficult.  My arm was all tied up so Patti had to help me get into my liturgical garb for the evening.  I also needed lots of help celebrating Holy Communion and was disappointed that I could only stand by and watch as others distributed the elements.  However, the Light with all of it’s splendor and joy still made a spectacular appearance for me.  There was joy to be shared through music, God’s Word, and fellowship.
As I stood there holding my candle and watching as God’s Light of hope was shared through the packed sanctuary I couldn’t help but be aware of who had brought me to the Light, my dad and mom.  From my earliest of years they faithfully witnessed to the Light and took me to share in the Light through worship and other activities.  I remembered one afternoon being in the sanctuary alone with my dad.  (It was probably the only time we were ever alone together in the church).  I was about six or seven years old.  We were attending a tiny Presbyterian church just across the street and down the hill from our house.  The sanctuary was actually a Quonset hut left over from World War II.  The church sat right beside the Tug River in South Williamson, Kentucky, so it flooded practically every March.  I can remember watching my dad and mom work with others to wash the mud out of the sanctuary after the river’s waters returned to its banks.  On this particular day I was remembering, dad and I were in the sanctuary working because the wooden pews had dried and were starting to split.  I was his helper as he turned the pews upside down and applied bracing to the bottoms.
I spent many, many Sundays sitting next to dad as we worshiped.  He was quiet about his faith, but steadfast.  Oh, there were times when he was not so quiet.  He sang, no, that’s not quite right.  He moaned, something like my dog moans when she hears a high soprano’s voice and tries to sing along.  Dad couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, but he would moan through the songs as best he could.  He and my mom showed me the Light in so many different ways.
As we all held our lighted candles on Christmas Eve I was prompted to say, “Before we leave, take a moment to remember who brought you to God’s Light.”  After a few moments I added, “Now think of someone you need to help find the Light.”

I can’t think of any better questions to start my new year.  “Who brought me to the Light, and who’s waiting for me to bring them the Light?”  I pray that God will keep me busy remembering and looking.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,


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

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”


~ by revgenelson on January 13, 2016.

3 Responses to “The Source of All Life”

  1. Gary..sorry for your loss and injury..hope you are mending..Sarah’s mom passed in Oct. Also,, been a tough year.

  2. Gary, I had no idea that you were going through all that on Christmas Eve; I really appreciated the service, and even more so since reading this. May God bless you, your family, and your ministry.

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