Over the past week I have experienced the height of elation and the depths of loss. Two experiences reminded me of the vast breadth of emotion that we are capable of and will all get a taste of at different points in life.
Last Thursday I had the privilege of standing with Matt (our associate pastor for worship and youth) and a crowd of ordained elders and deacons from the Nazarene tradition. I have a sneaking suspicion that I was the only United Methodist elder on the platform. Now I have been a part of several ordination services at annual conference but this one was special for me. I stood with someone I have been in ministry with for more than 4 years. I stood beside someone who I consider more than a colleague – he is a friend. And he asked me to pray for him as part of his ordination. I now know the pride that his parents felt in that moment – I was honored to be a part of that. And to top it all off I was honored to present to him a very generous love offering from his church family. I can report to you that he was blown away by the show of support and generosity of North Star Church. Sidebar – Congrats Matt!
Sunday afternoon my wife and I made the hour and a half journey to Bates County Memorial Hospital in Butler, MO. It was our fourth visit in a little over a week. It would be the last few hours in this life that I would spend with my grandmother Iris Lee Pyle Hoffman. I am blessed – my paternal and maternal grandparents lived long lives and as an adult I was able to share life with them. Now all of them are gone to their eternal rest – Iris Lee was the last of them. Although my grandmother was receiving palliative care she could still hear us pray with her, sing to her, brush her hair, and tell her how much we loved her and will miss her. Those are precious moments to remember in the face of death. It was a struggle for my grandmother – she spent 10 days in a hospital bed slowly dying. But now her pain and struggles are over and praise God she is with her Lord and Savior.
And so in the short span of 10 days I will be a part of two celebrations. The beginning of life as an ordained elder for a close friend and the remembrance of a woman who was so dear to so many people.
I know that many of you will be in prayer for my family and I deeply appreciate your heartfelt sentiments and condolences. But while it would be easy to focus on death I would like for us to focus on life. If you have not had a chance and are able – please tell Matt how much you appreciate his ministry and faithfulness for we are truly blessed to have him with us.
And so I close with this – may the peace of God that surpasses all understanding be with each and every one of us!
Blessings for the journey.