by William B. Kessler
Reading the obituaries, quickly scanning the pictures, curiously determining the cause of death, and thoughtfully calculating the ages of those who died, I am sobered as I count up my own years, hesitantly comparing my own age with the age of those who have passed.
Simone de Beauvoir, a twentieth-century French existentialist, recounts her mother’s painfully drawn out death by cancer in a memoir ironically entitled A Very Easy Death. She writes, “Although I was not with Maman when she died, and although I had been with three people when they were actually dying, it was when I was at her bedside that I saw Death, the Death of the dance of death, with its bantering grin, the Death of fireside tales that knocks on the door, a scythe in its hand, the Death that comes from elsewhere, strange and inhuman: it had the very face of Maman when she showed her gums in a wide smile of unknowingness.” Sobering obituaries, ironic memoirs of dying loved ones, and grave smiles of unknowingness: how depressing! Or is it? Read more
by Eric R. Hausler
Every now and then, you may breeze by a familiar passage in the Bible without seriously considering its implications. And then, if you do stop to consider it, the duty sounds so daunting that you feel inadequate and overwhelmed!
“Pray without ceasing”(1 Thess. 5:17)is probably one of those. Never stop praying? How is that even possible? What doesit mean, and why would the Lord command it? By taking a closer look at Paul’s directive and seeing its parallels in Scripture, you will see it is an essential part of Christian living. Read more
by John D. Van Meerbeke
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26). With these words, the apostle Paul gives encouragement to the saints in first-century Rome.
He makes a broad assumption about Christians here. He does not suggest that it’s a rare thing to struggle with prayer. He says, rather, that “we do not know what to pray for as we ought.” But in Romans, chapter 8, Paul writes these things not to disturb or discourage us, but to set the stage for the ministry of the third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Read more
by Allen H. Harris
A thirtyish man from Provincetown, whom I will call Mark, happened into the Sunday worship service of the tiny mission church we are part of on outer Cape Cod. He had not been to church for ten years. He had felt a need in his life and had decided to try a few churches to see if they had anything to offer.
Our small church has a sharing and prayer time as part of each worship service. Requests are offered, and people volunteer to pray for them. Read more