just a thought

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford

THE SHADOW OF DEATH

 

I once attended a sale of household goods. Among them was a striking picture, not so much from its art as from its aspect. Close to, it depicted a boy and girl seated under an archway, but looked at from a few yards away the arch appeared to be a skull, symbol of death. Its message was clear. Death overshadows us and ours. No age, or sex, or situation is free from its menace. As the Book of Common Prayer states: “IN THE MIDST OF LIFE WE ARE IN DEATH”. 

But there is hope in God, for, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me” (Ps 23:4).

Here are three precious things, first, shadows are caused by light. Death might seem a fearful passage, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Secondly, we may enter, but there is an exit, we pass through. Death is not a cul-de-sac, it is a thorough-fare. Thirdly, the Lord is with us. In our direst experience His presence is there to strengthen and sustain. Nay, more, in our Lord Jesus Christ we see victory over death. He has blazed a trail through this region of distress – “the path of life” – and risen from the dead to live forever. We, too, in Him, shall triumph over sins darkest penalty and live with Him.

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illustrations that light up life

ernest reading pose

Rev. E. Anderson

A SHIP’S CHALLENGE

A ship, like a human being, moves best when it is slightly athwart the wind, when it has to keep its sails tight and attend to its course. Ships, like men, do poorly when the wind is directly behind, pushing them sloppily on their way so that no care is required in steering or in the management of sails; the wind seems favourable, for it blows in the direction one is heading, but actually it is destructive, because it induces a relaxation in tension and skill. What is needed is a wind slightly opposed to the ship, for then tension can be maintained, and juices can flow and ideas can germinate; for ships, like men, respond to challenge.  James Michener, Chesapeake

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healing testimonies

ernest kitchen

Rev.Anderson

THE EMPTY ROOM

Taken from Chicken for the Soul

—Elaine Hanson as told to Linda Osmundson

“By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see” –

– Acts 3:15-17

On a Friday morning in July, we arrived unexpectedly at my father’s house in Browerville, Minnesota. I told Dad that our eighteen-year-old son, Vaughn, had decided to stay home with friends and work instead of attending the family reunion.

The phone rang.

I explained why we’d come to Dad’s rather than keeping our original plan. On the trip from Fort Collins, Colorado, our twenty-eight-foot motor home overheated every time we drove over fifty miles per hour. It would die and not start again until it cooled off. We’d dropped my aging mother-in-law in a nearby town at her brother’s. By the time we arrived at our hosts, they weren’t home so we’d come to Dad’s.

The phone rang again.

Dad answered it. “It’s a miracle you found them. I didn’t expect them to come here today.” He handed the phone to me.

My daughter, a student at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, was sobbing. “Mom, the hospital called me. Vaughn’s been in a serious motorcycle accident. He is in emergency surgery now and the insurance company says 1 have to get your permission to sign all the papers. And he needs more surgeries!”

I fell into the nearest chair. “Wait a minute. What accident? What surgeries?”

“He rode his motorcycle up the canyon to EstesPark for breakfast. On the way down the mountains, he hit gravel and careened off a bridge. He’s in emergency surgery now and will need lots more.”

We hadn’t thought twice about leaving Vaughn at home. After all, he was a very responsible high school senior.

“It’s bad. You need to come home,” pleaded my daughter.

“We’re on our way.” Shaking, 1 hung up. I wiped tears from my face as I relayed her message to her father. Then I began to pray.

Gordon’s clock-like mind ticked off everything we needed to do… call the hospital, pack, pick up Mom… FAST!

But neither Mom nor her brother answered the door. How we guessed the right restaurant on the first try and found them, I’ll never know.

With the bulk of the drive at night, we avoided the mobile home overheating. I called the hospital each time we filled up with gas. “He’s still in surgery.”

Next they said, “He’s listed in critical condition.” One hundred miles from home, the motor home sputtered and slowed. “I’ve never run out of gas… until now.” Gordon pounded his palm on the steering wheel and pulled to the shoulder.

No sooner had we stopped than a knock came on the driver’s side window. “Do you need help?” a stranger asked. He drove Gordon to a gas station and back.

Gordon was surprised. “The attendant loaned me a can, filled it with gas and told me to pay when I come back.”

Miraculously, the motor home started. From the gas station, 1 called the hospital again. “He’s still critical.” 1 closed the door to the motor home’s bedroom, knelt and continued my prayers.

We pulled into the Fort Collins hospital parking lot Saturday afternoon around one o’clock and waded through a crowd of high school students to Vaughn’s room. The doctor explained, “We removed his spleen, mended a broken femur and repaired other organs.” They’d also wrapped his broken ribs, cleaned his own blood and given it back to him in addition to eight donated pints. “We’re giving him every medication we know to help him live.”

Vaughn woke up and was obviously glad to see us. Then he said, “Mom, feel my stomach.” His bloated, hard-as-a-rock abdomen alerted us to more problems.

Within minutes, doctors hurried into the room. “Vaughn needs more surgery. Now! He’s literally bleeding to death inside.” They whisked him away.

After surgery, Vaughn lay in a coma. “The meds don’t seem to be working,” said the doctor. “If he doesn’t make a turnaround during the night, I’m afraid there is little hope.”

Gordon and I sat by the bed with Michael, Vaughn’s “blood brother.” Gordon nodded off. I tapped his shoulder. “Why don’t you go home and get some rest? Michael and I will stay.”

Gordon hugged me goodbye and promised to relieve me later.

Around wires and tubes, I kissed my son’s forehead and prayed harder than ever before in my life.

At two or three in the morning, I felt suffocated in the dim, stark room full of beeping monitors. Before he’d left, my priest said, “I keep Hosts in the chapel.” As a Eucharistic minister, I knew the protocol. I hurried to the chapel, found the Hosts and cradled one in my palm.

Back in Vaughn’s room, I told Michael, “The doctors have done all they can. The rest is up to God.”

Trusting the miracle of the Eucharist, I broke the Host into three pieces. One piece I placed on my comatose son’s tongue. I gave the second to Michael. The last I placed in my mouth and prayed. “Dear God, will You heal Vaughn because the doctors can’t? Please take over so we can have our son back.”

Then, having done all we could, Michael and I went home. I told Gordon what I’d done. He showered and left for the hospital to replace me. I’d barely changed my clothes when he called. “Hurry. Come back.”

I imagined the worst.

Gordon said, “When I walked into Vaughn’s room, it was empty, the bed half stripped.”

I fell into a chair; sobs choked me.

“I panicked,” he said. “I believed our Vaughn had died.”

I gripped the phone with both hands. “Believed?”

Gordon answered, “A scream rose in my throat and I fell to my knees. Finally, I left the room. That’s when I saw the miracle.”

“What miracle?” I stammered.

“Outside the empty room, I saw Vaughn pushing his IV stand down the hall. He wasn’t connected to any monitors. A nurse walked beside him. She said she wished they’d videotaped his rapid recovery because they can’t explain it.”

I can.

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