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The Things That Matter

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is as strong as death…
If one offered for love
all the wealth of one’s house,
it would be utterly scorned.
Song of Solomon 8:6-7

Last evening, right about sunset, in the shadow of the McDowell Mountains, I was honored to lead a couple in renewing their wedding vows. There, in the presence of Almighty God they renewed their faith in each other and faith in God and bound themselves together in sacred vows for the days ahead.

For the big occasion the “groom” had squeezed into the Air Force uniform he wore almost 52 years ago when he first pledged undying love. His “bride” was radiant, in her bed, on oxygen, with her hospice nurse nearby.  Diagnosed with a raging, terminal cancer just five weeks ago, she asked her family to call for a minister. Sensing that she would not be here in a month to celebrate their anniversary, she wanted to renew their vows now.  The groom was overwhelmed and their children and grandchildren looked on with pride and deep joy.

I had a hard time sleeping last night as I kept replaying that scene in my mind. I knew that I had been a witness to something transcendent and wondrous. I had been given insight into the things that really matter, the things that really count.

When I worked for hospice we would commonly say that there are five things a patient needs to say before she or he dies. Those five things are:  

1.    Forgive me
2.    I forgive you
3.    I love you
4.    Thank you
5.    Good-bye

As we sought to help patients to a good death in saying these five things, it occurred to me that this was not only a good way to die……it was also a very good way to live!  Yes, today is the day to say, “forgive me.”  Today is the day to say, “I love you” and to celebrate those we love.  Let’s not let another day slip through our fingers. Let’s pick up a phone. Write a note. Give a hug. Say “thank you.”

In today’s text Solomon gets it right again:

     If one offered for love all the wealth of one’s house, it would be utterly scorned.
 
Take time to today to love. 

Grace and Peace,

Tim Smith

Weekly Bible Classes with Tim Smith
 
Every Wednesday through the summer
At the Franciscan Renewal Center
(Garces Room of Piper Hall)

Wednesday Noon – 1:00 P.M.
Songs for Life’s Journey:  The Psalms of Ascent
 
Wednesday Evening 7:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.
Profiles of Spiritual Maturity:  The Letter of James

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