Tuesday, May 22, 2007

24: A Wedding. A Funeral. A Graduation.

Jack Bauer isn't the only one who has intense 24 hour days.

Saturday afternoon, one of my daughter's friends was married. I started crying even BEFORE the processional (my daughter was a bridesmaid). The couple had chosen an international theme, and the guests were dressed in costumes representing nations from around the world. They are Bible translators and plan to give their lives to service internationally, as well as in love to each other. Their service was a celebration of God's love to every nation.

Young cousins sang "In Christ Alone" - and the words vibrated in my bones. "No guilt in life, no fear in death--This is the power of Christ in me; From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny."

Especially poignant because my next stop was a funeral.

The news of this friend's death had been a surprise. She often came to my rubber-stamping workshops, and made oodles of handmade cards that blessed others. I had first met her at the young mom's Bible study at our church. Her laughter and warmth lifted me often. She had asked that instead of a funeral service, our church celebrate Jesus with a powerful time of worship. "Thy Strong Word Did Cleave the Darkness," we sang. And God met us in our sadness.

After quick hugs, we hit the road for the four-hour drive to Sioux Falls, checked in to a motel, and tumbled into bed. The next morning we joined hundreds of other families for the Baccalaureate Service of the Augustana College graduates (including our daughter). A wonderful sermon spoke of how we all live in the place between. The place of wanting to stay and wanting to go. (Although I think there should be a law against speakers at graduations talking about "only moments ago, you brought them to their first day of kindergarten." Yep. More tears. Ted just sighed and handed me more Kleenex from his jacket pocket).

Amazing how all those themes blended in my heart. Love and commitment. Going forth. Graduating to heaven. Graduating from college. The next step. And how all the steps are protected, nurtured, and accompanied by Christ Himself - because He loves us that much.

A short time ago, I blogged about how brief and fragile life is, in a post called Lilac Day. My 24 hours of commemorating milestones of all sorts reminded me that change is scary. A marriage commitment, the step from this world to the next, the launching into the world after college. Yet none of those changes needs to hold terror for us, since we aren't moving forward alone.

In the words of the hymn (by Suart Townend and Keith Getty, copyright 2001)

"In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all--
Here in the love of Christ I stand."

Blessings!
Sharon Hinck

10 comments:

relevantgirl said...

i love that song so much. thanks for the reminder

Barbara H. said...

What a busy and emotional weekend!!

Change of any kind can be both exciting and frightening. I love this hymn, especially applied to the changes of life you mentioned.

BTW, I'm very glad to have found your blog via your newsletter!

Sharon Hinck said...

Thanks, Mary! It really helped me during some rough days.

Hi, Barbara! I'm glad you found your way to the blog, too! Welcome!

Laura Christianson said...

Sharon,

"In Christ Alone" is my favorite song. It helped me make it through the death of my mom, and then, a year later, the death of a friend.

Thanks for sharing it!

Nice website redesign, by the way.

Laura
Exploring Adoption blog

Sharon Hinck said...

Hi, Laura!
Thanks for stopping by (and I'm glad you like the new look) :-)
Yep, times like the death of dear ones, we need STRONG words of truth and strength to help us get through.
God bless the amazing hymn writers who serve the whole Body so powerfully.

oh amanda said...

Beautiful post!

(I almost didn't read it b/c I saw Jack Bauer's name on the top and I haven't watched the finale yet. It's sitting on my tivo just waiting...)

Sharon Hinck said...

Hi, oh amanda!
I've got the finale saved on tivo, also!
My husband got me hooked the first season.

Valerie Comer said...

The week after my mom's stroke I went to church for (almost!) the only purpose of holding a baby--the 10-week old I often *steal* from her busy parents. I told her daddy that I needed to be connected to the other end of life, to remember that for millenia old people have died and babies have been born, that it is all part of God's design. (My mom is still alive, though.)

I sense that kind of connection happened for you, too, Sharon, in the midst of that crazy time. Hugs for you on the loss of your friend. God does know what he's doing. Hang in there.

Sharon Hinck said...

Oh, Val,
you make me long to cuddle a baby.
And thank you for your hugs.

Valerie Comer said...

Yeah, and my kids keep NOT giving me grand-babies! Patience... :P