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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Romans 6:1–11

What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (NRSV)

Being a church organist I hear more than the average share of eulogies at memorial services, probably thirty to forty each year. Some are for the famous; many for the not so famous. Most are heartwarming tributes given by friends or family of the deceased person, sometimes with amusing stories, often with tears and occasionally even laughter. What always strikes me is when it is clear that the deceased person really touched someone’s life, that they lived a life full of joy, energy, and passion dedicated to serving others around them. It is always inspiring to hear stories of how the person was a force of positivity all around and devoted their energy to causes larger than themselves. These are the eulogies that are so inspiring for everyone. Sadly, though, I remember one memorial service in which several people gave eulogies with only one consistently good thing to say about the deceased person: what good hair they had. I’m sure the deceased person had other positive attributes, but the most memorable and significant memory was simply the good hair.

Abraham Lincoln wrote, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

What will people say at your eulogy? Is the life you are living right now the one you would want someone to remember in a eulogy? Every day is an opportunity to become a bright beam of light for good in this world, a beam of light illuminating truth and justice, sharing gifts of beauty and energy. Every day we can encourage someone, make something better; be a force for positive change. Mary Oliver asked in her poem “Summer Day,” “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” How will you respond today?

O God, help me live this life to serve you and my neighbor at all times and in all things. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music

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