Pr. Jaynan Clark
August 28, 2013
A few weeks ago the Bible readings for the Sunday were out of Luke 12 and talked about being ready for the unexpected; the coming of Jesus at an unexpected hour. It is true that nobody knows the date and the time and yet many have tried to calculate it. Most are preparing for “the end” or for “dooms day” or the “Apocalypse” and seemingly preparing for the worst. So be it! Doesn’t ring true with the Word of God. We don’t know when, where or really how... but we know who and why. Jesus will return according to the Father’s will and there will be a reckoning and all will know that He alone is the Lord of Heaven and Earth and even all that is under the Earth (Phil 2). Sounds like something to look forward to! To expect!
Perhaps that makes me weird--to live with the thought on a day-to-day basis that if Jesus came back today it would be all taken care of. It would be good. At difficult times the thought is that it would be preferred! It would be an answer to prayer! Everything would be revealed, set straight and all would know God in Jesus Christ. Period. Why is that scary? Why would that be a dooms day for you and me? Finally some clarity!
But as world history reveals that is a weird way to live and not a reflection of conventional wisdom at any time. We are expected to be unexpecting. We are expected to be scared. We are expected to be caught with our “pants down” and our lamps empty and flameless. In the dark... naked, not ready for service. Why? Well, I guess Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves and He figures that sinners are going to be doing their own thing and living their own life (both descriptions of our sinful state) and not watching, waiting and serving Him whenever the time comes.
Wouldn’t it be nice to get caught serving your neighbor? Wouldn’t it be great if your own time ended and you were too busy taking care of “the other” that you didn’t even know you were falling to the ground lifeless? Whether Jesus returns before your number comes up or not, why are either “unexpected?” We laughed that Sunday about the life insurance ads that play late at night forcing their message into your brain that you must “prepare for the unexpected!” If you are preparing for it then is it ‘unexpected?’ Is the fact that you are going to die someday a surprise to you? Didn’t know it was going to happen sooner or later? Why in the world would this be unexpected?
Rehearing this whole lesson from Jesus, continuously seeing those ads playing late at night while I clean the gym and serving you as your pastor all came together into one solidified resolve that week. As your pastor there is no reason for any of you to be caught unready for Jesus’ return either personally for you in death or to the world as a whole. If any are unprepared then isn’t my responsibility to help you “get your house in order” so to speak, be “dressed ready for service with your lamps burning?” I am little by little getting around visiting each of you either in your home or a place of your choice. Should these visits take on a specific focus of preparation? Would if every member of the Holy Trinity family had their earthly business in order, their family fully informed, their health care choices and advanced directives in writing and their funeral/memorial services planned. How would being prepared in that way for that which should be “expected” change our day-to-day life together as a small, functioning family of God’s children?
I believe that the promise, the assurance and that real-time security in your Savior would shine brightly through all these remaining days of your life, which is really His life lived in you (as Paul reminds us in Romans and Galatians.)
Let’s get started! Below is the beginnings of your checklist that is not a selfish “bucket list” of what you want to experience before you die but rather your “expectation” list that will serve others by not leaving for them to do what should be expected and done by you for them. An act of love, selflessness, anticipation and faith! Let’s get started serving!
~Plan Your Funeral/Memorial Service:
- Obituary written?
- Which funeral home?
- Burial or cremation?
- Location of plot and service?
- Who do you want to lead the service?
- Eulogy or remembrances—if yes, whom?
- Favorite Bible readings?
- Music--Soloists, duet, choir, accompanist, CD’s?
- Traditional liturgy or something different?
- Video or PowerPoint?
- Pictures to be used?
- Costs covered?
- Power of attorney?
- Estate planning?
- Gifting to family, friends, church, non-profit ministries?
- Home and contents?
- Special memorabilia to be gifted?
- Insurance, pensions, etc?
- Passwords for all accounts, location of information, files both paper and electronic and their location?
- Plans for retirement: finances, real estate—sale or rent or gift, nursing home, independent living with home health care, hospice, live with a family member?
- Advanced directives for your health care such as DNR and what that means for emergency calls and hospitalization?
- Estranged relationships and forgiveness withheld?
- Phone calls, letters, correspondence to be done now not left to be undone?
- Letters or video for the future prepared for family, friends or perhaps even the unborn or not yet married into the family?
- What do you want to say that you might not be alive to communicate?
That is more than enough on our initial list but it is time to start your homework knowing I’m here to help you prepare for the expected and we will have some fun doing so! What a relief!!