We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. 2 Corinthians 6:8-10 NLT
So my dog died this week. His name was Bishop. He was 14 years old. A beautiful cocker spaniel he was. I got him the first year of my first call as a pastor, while serving in Philadelphia. He’s been with me through think-and-thin. He lived a very long and happy life, and he died in his sleep after spending lots of quality time with those who loved him.
It’s still sad, though, because I miss him. And it wasn’t the best week for him to die, as this is has been an extra-busy week. But that always seems to be the case. Tragedy is never convenient. But it comes nonetheless.
The week has also been filled with some great things- I had the chance to spend time with friends and colleagues at the first Youth and Family Ministry Network meeting of the Fall. I had the opportunity to see the awesome Broadway musical Book of Mormon and ran into some good friends while there. This weekend dream-leaders from Celebration will be meeting in retreat to dream together about our church’s future. And Saturday night is Lutherhill’s always-spectacular S’mores and Champagne Gala. Sometimes, good things come, even when we don’t plan for them or expect them.
That’s the truth about life, isn’t it? It can’t be all tragedy, all the time. It can’t be all good stuff, all the time. The bad helps give meaning to the good and the good helps makes the tragic bearable.
I would rather have not had to grieve the death of Bishop. But I wouldn’t trade in the amazing 13 years we had together as companions.
As a church, we’ll have moments of joy together, and moments of sadness. Sometimes we’ll agree and sometimes we’ll disagree. And sometimes we’ll go through periods of excitement and periods of boredom. But this all adds up to life. Life in Christ. A household of faith. And I wouldn’t trade that in for anything, either.
So, here’s to life!
It’s just a thought.
+pax et bonum