Welcome to First Presbyterian Church of Independence Iowa!
On Sundays it is my practice to arrive at church about 7:30 am. I use this time to review my sermon, review the worship service, and to center myself. I like it quiet with some soft music playing in the background. Leading worship requires me to focus and I find it emotionally draining. This pre-worship time helps me to be ready to go.
On Sunday, March 22, I was in my office. I had reviewed my sermon materials and the worship service. My mind began to wander as I enjoyed the quiet. I found myself looking at a family picture we had taken at a family reunion in Estes Park, Colorado a few years ago. For some reason I was drawn to the picture. Specifically I was drawn to my mom, and I began to think of her. My thoughts were a mixture of sadness, I really miss her, and thankfulness, I had the best mom ever. (I hope each child can say that of their mom.) It was a meaningful time for me.
What I didn’t realize until later, when my sister Judy posted something on Facebook about it, was that March 22 was the one year anniversary of my mom’s death. At the time I did not know what had drawn me to that picture. I didn’t understand why my thoughts went where they did. Know I knew and understood. Something was going on beyond my perception. Something intensely personal. Something intensely spiritual.
In Romans 8:26-27 we read, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
In life I believe there are both physical realities and spiritual realities. We are obviously in tune with physical realities. We get hungry, we feel pain, we laugh, we cry, and experience a wide array of emotions and feelings in this world in which we live. But we are also, at some level, spirit. And at times I believe we experience this reality as well. The Celts call these times “thin places”. A place where the veil between this world and the next is so thin we can sense something more.
As parents we care for our kids. We tend to their physical and emotional needs. But what about their spiritual needs? I think we neglect this at our and their peril. There is more to this world and this life than we can see, feel, and touch. And on that Sunday morning in March I absolutely knew this was true. Being open to and in tune with spiritual realities can be a real and enriching blessing in our lives, and the lives of those we love.
I miss my mom. But in that moment I knew she was doing great and I thought about that time when I will see her again; in that place where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain”. Jesus has risen from the dead and is alive. And he will make it so. Thanks be onto God for the gentle reminders that there is more to this life and for daily reassurances of his love.
Avri's youth group video from this past year... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfjPEPIpeBY&feature=youtube_gdata_player&app=desktop