by Pastor Tim White
What is the most profound emotion humans ever experience?
In the book, “A Grief Observed” C.S. Lewis points to grief as one of the most profound emotions that human beings ever experience. That means you and I will all experience grief to a greater or lesser degree during our lives. It can be devastating, immobilizing and if we bury it instead of going through it in a healthy way, it can be permanently debilitating. You and I can’t just skip grief; we all are going to go through it at one time or another. And interesting enough, Jesus made this part of his mission statement in Isaiah 61 - to comfort those who grieve. We all have the inclination to ruminate on our hurts. To think about the why’s, what if’s, where for’s, would-have’s, could-have’s and should have’s, is an experience that we have all been trapped in at one time or another. We grieve the loss of our youth, our children growing up, mistakes of our lives and so many more events in an imperfect life.
If we are going to have victory over anxiety and stress, then we need to deal with the angst of our pasts in a healthy, God-like way. Let’s learn from Jesus this week. I believe this will be a major breakthrough for those who can make it this weekend to worship at Washington Cathedral.
Do you need inspiration? Could you do with some personalized encouragement from God himself? Do you need inspiration that will lift you to face your challenges this next week to live at your very best? I think this message will touch your heart and challenge your brain. Please join me.
Let me share with you a joyful experience that good old St. Irenaeus would call a Fully Alive moment.
Carlos Avila was a fine scholar who was the President of the most prestigious university in Honduras. He married a beautiful biology professor and they had two amazing children. Their daughter Pamela grew up to go to the University of Texas and get her graduate degree in business and then to go to work as an executive for Amazon. Their son, also named Carlos, followed his mother’s love for biology. He went to medical school where he would specialize in pediatric oncology. One day Carlos Sr. got a call from the then new Latin American Pope Francis. Pope Francis asked him to stop his career in education and to come to work for him in the Vatican as his ambassador. They were so honored that he and his wife gave up their education mission to join the Pope Francis team. They said it was hard to leave their beloved Honduras and to move to Rome. In fact, at one of the meals with another papal ambassador from Japan, he complained that now that he lived and worked in Rome all his clothes were not fitting any more. The ambassador from Japan said, 'oh didn’t anyone tell you - pasta shrinks clothes.”
Last week Jackie and I enjoyed a family-style dinner with Carlos Sr., his wife and with Carlos Jr., and his sister Pamela. Each person shared how excited they were to be used by God in their place. Jackie and I got to share about the kick-off of our new series starting in October called “Life Vines,” and about how excited we are for our congregation to learn how to help those we care about in their relationship journey with Christ. Helping us all to be more effective in pointing our children, our grandchildren, our neighbors and friends to move one step closer to Christ. Ambassador Carlos lit up as he said, “that is going to be the plan this year for the Catholic Church. We are learning to maximize our relationships to honor Jesus Christ.” He went on to tell us about what a joy it is to work for Pope Francis. He told us how personable he is, how he hugs you, pats your hand, and really cares that he is your friend. I thought this a perfect example of where God is leading our church. I have never been more excited to be alive than I am now. Five years ago, I prayed with a young doctor on a flight back from Honduras that he could have a personalized relationship with Jesus Christ that would make him a better Catholic. He went on to be a pediatric oncologist as well as lead multiple medical brigades to the street kids we support in Honduras, and now we met his family who treated us like family. God is good! We enjoyed this wonderful evening of excitement about the good things God has ahead for us!
May God bless you mightily this next week,
Your friend for the rest of my life,
Pastor Tim White