Each week Pastor Sarah offers a devotional reflection to connect with the South Shore UMC Family. Use this entry as a way to prepare your heart and mind for worship. See you Sunday!
During the month of October, the South Shore UMCommunity will explore five common images of the ‘spooky season’ as they appear in Scripture – darkness, writing appearing from nowhere, ghosts, demons, and skeletons. These stories are amusing, and their knowledge we will be using! Join us for a spooktacular month of study and song at South Shore!
Sunday's Scripture ~ John 1:4-5.
Devotional Scripture ~ James 1:6-8.
Last Tuesday, my dear friend entered the Church Triumphant. To many, he was Bob. To me, he was and always will be Spitzer.
(I may have been the only one to call him by his last name...and he tolerated it with a smirk and a smile.)
For three years, colon cancer sought to pull Spitzer under. It battered and beat him like gale force winds against a boat on the seas. Spitzer's faith was never shaken. Spitzer's faith was only strengthened. Doubt was neither a word nor a concept known to Spitzer. 'Double-mindedness' was not a possibility for him. He was laser-focused and single-minded about his faith in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We hoped that Spitzer's healing would come this side of eternity. And even if it didn't, we were assured that healing prevails on heaven's side of eternity.
And it has.
Though I grieve Spitzer's death, I celebrate God's fulfilled promise of salvation. I celebrate Spitzer's resurrection.
Spitzer was the focus of my prayers on my jog last Tuesday - gratitude for his friendship; joy that he introduced me to the bliss that is financial pie charts; comfort for his beloved, Debbie; hope that the seeds of service he faithfully sowed at Tuskawilla UMC will continue to yield a harvest for God's Kingdom. As I finished, the song coming through my earbuds was "...Brand New" by Ben Rector. The chorus of that song sings,
Like when I close my eyes and don't even care if anyone sees me dancing Like I can fly, and don't even think of touching the ground Like a heartbeat skip, like an open page Like a one way trip on an aeroplane It's the way that I feel when I'm with you, brand new Brand new*
Spitzer and Debbie travelled the world together. Much of their globe-trotting was grounded due to Spitzer's treatment and then the pandemic. But now, he is brand new. Nothing is holding him back. And nothing - not time, not space, not even the veil of eternity - is holding back his love and care for his Debbie, his family, his friends, and his church. I am convinced that Spitzer is already at work in the Kingdom. He is improving some process or introducing Jesus to pie charts. And there is joy. There is laughter. There is health. And there is anticipation - holy anticipation - for when we will join him there.
For when we will all be brand new.
Love you, Spitzer. Well done, good and faithful servant. See you again.
Reflection: What is your relationship with doubt? Are you 'double-minded' - relying on the world and on your own resources to see you through - even as you turn to God in prayer? What needs to change for you to fully or more fully rely on God for the answers and/or peace you seek?
Prayer: "I want to walk as a child of the light. I want to follow Jesus. God sent the stars to give light to the world. The light of my life is Jesus. In him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus."** Amen.
*"...Brand New" by Ben Rector - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SMYzllRyqg
**"I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light," The United Methodist Hymnal 206.
***Devotional Resource: The Weekly Faith Project by Zondervan.