Share your Easter Story
Here is my Easter 2023 story. It begins on December 29th 2022, which was a Thursday. I have office hours at the church on Thursday mornings.
I drop in to see my mom, my next-door neighbor, before I leave for the church. With pancreatic cancer, she has been nonresponsive since I prayed over and gave the first dose of morphine to her the day before.
She is comfortable and calm. This time was easy, breezy. I give her a quick kiss goodbye.
At my desk at the church within the next hour or so, I create what I didn’t have, which is the January sermon series You’re okay when you’re not okay.
I walk into the sanctuary with the flyer I just made for this upcoming series. It’s then that I receive a cell phone call from Ashley, one of my mom’s caregivers. Just as I set the flyer on the pulpit, Ashley says, “You should come home, your mom is dying.”
As I am leaving the church just a few minutes later, I hear through my heart the song, Precious Lord. This is what I will sing at her bedside.
“Make this meaningful,” I gently pray as I reach the end of the church’s long drive. I turn right toward home.
My dad’s death 22 years earlier was meaningful. My time with him in the woods where he died began my fulltime ministry.
Mom’s hospital bed is in her living room. She did not use this bed until she knew it was time, which was just after Christmas day.
A few people fill her living room. I pivot and sit on the edge of the bed. There I sing “Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, help me stand. I am tired. I am weak. I am worn…”
When the song ends, I realize through my gut that there is more to do. More to say.
No one says my mom has minutes. Maybe wonderful hospice workers have a greater sense of timing on this. I didn’t ask. I just talked with her about dad and other family members ahead of her, like her dad.
Then I do something unpredicted and unthought of until that very moment. I reach over and hug my mom. We are face to face. Breath to breath.
I realize we will share her dying breath together. This is beautiful. This is wonderful.
I’ll share again I don’t have the timing on this. I hear from within that my last song to my mom is the very one she has asked me to sing at her funeral. This song is her longstanding request, which I’ve known of for dozen or more years. It’s The Lord’s Prayer.
As I sing almost cheek to cheek with her, I listen to her breathing. It stops in the middle of the song. Seconds later, I lean back and say, “My mom is home.”
I will sing The Lord’s Prayer this Holy Saturday during her memorial service. In listening to and being guided by God again, I am certain this time in the church will have as much meaning as it did with my mom bedside.
This is the closest I have come to Jesus—literally. Awesome fact! And my mom? She gifted this to me. He was on one side of her. I held her on this side. This forever moment will forever propel my ministry because this IS Easter. Not death. It’s life forever.
The Easter story is recorded in all four gospels. Christians are called to share the Easter story, the life after death story.
From the recorded Easter story in the Bible, also share Your Easter story. Your Easter story is different than mine, of course. But do share it. Eternal life wins when we know Jesus.
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