Steal Away---that's the name of the spiritual which ends this brief story. The story highlights various moments (gifted moments) I have shared with others these last two days. Each moment offered me an opportunity to reflect on what dying means to me.
Yesterday a close friend and I shared our thinking about these two questions: are you afraid of dying; what do you think happens to you after death. She was surprised to hear that there are moments when I get the cold shivers.
Cold shivers...that is the way I felt when I was told the historian, John Hope Franklin had died. For many years he has been one of those folks I read over and over again as I tried to reach that point where I understood our country, accepted us for who we were and are, and forgave myself for not attending with more vigor to the needs of people who had been and are abused in our country.
My friend and I admitted that, deep inside, in our hearts, we had a very strong sense of God's loving presence and that we were convinced that the bond we had with God was real and would last forever.
"That's pretty much what I have going for me," I said. She nodded and we promised each other that we would take time over the next few months to share stories about how that loving presence enlightened and strengthened us.
Next Saturday, April 4, 2009, will be the forty first anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination. He changed me forever... daily I read some section from one of his sermons. Next Monday a close friend of mine and I shall begin discussing this question, "what does it mean to be anointed by God," and we shall be using the Doctor's sermon, "Guidelines for a Constructive Church," which sermon can be found at this web address:
This morning I went to the chapel at St. Joseph's Hospital and I spent a few moments reflection on what the death of Jesus meant to me. More and more I am finding that He died because He chose to be an open, honest, and loving person.I have seen so many people who have these wonderful virtues mocked, ridiculed, and abused. It seems that so many of us are frightened when we meet human beings who are actively seeking to understand others, share themselves and their resources with others, and act in this way without expecting anything in return.
I spent a little time with a patient today who is very tired. She asked her daughter to take care of her father. "I just want to go," she said.
These last two days have given me a great, great deal to think about.
One of the spiritual's original intents was to let the slaves know that tonight was the night when a group of them was going to leave the plantation and head for either Canada or the North. It also moves me to realize how many people, like I, hunger so much to be joined with God and other people in leading happy and loving lives forever.