Passages Along the Journey in Faith

“When I thought of an art gallery…” he said, “…I imagined a world where life and death existed together. My hope is that the world might look a little different after entering and re-emerging from this space.” –Lee Ufan, a Korean-born, Japan student, Europe worker, world artist whose museum in Naoshima opened this year and whose works can be seen in harmony with architecture and nature

 
 

Upon re-reading these words above quoted in an article I read from an inflight magazine en route to Seoul this summer, it occurs to me that I myself have been in a sense through a gallery of sorts in which life and death exist together and by which we are re-emerging in time and space with re-formed perspectives. My view of the world is looking different now than it ever has before. Words appropriated from Scripture come to mind: “Love is stronger than death!” and echoing from the first question and answer in the Heidelberg Catechism found in our Book of Confessions: “Our sole comfort in life and in death is that we belong wholly to the Lord our God.” With Word and Spirit in, through and upon us, we persevere in prayer to the glory of God.

 
 

A number of folks in our congregation have endearingly asked, not just how I am doing these days following my father’s and my wife’s passing over the past year, but how my family’s faring, and specifically, how are the children. For the most part, considering how much we’ve endured, my children are doing remarkably well, academically and otherwise. Each has moments when waves of emotion may come and go, though overall, we continue to feel and know God’s grace carrying us through. We are thankful to have my mom (their “Lola”) with us in the aftermath of our loss. The love and care we have experienced together as a family of faith in compassionate community has been very heartening for us, even especially now in hindsight of the last several months. It is with a deeply grateful heart that I write to you in these weeks leading up to the end of the church’s liturgical year.

 
 

As I type, we approach the end of a fourteen hour flight from Chicago to Abu Dhabi en route to points of interest in India where I and eighteen other fellow pastors in the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program are embarking on the culminating study tour of our inaugural fellowship sponsored by the Lilly Endowment. These are among the same ministers who have sojourned with us in the midst of a very challenging ordeal, providing gratis pulpit supply, prayers and much support during such trying times. Along with other clergy spouses during our voyage to Mexico a year ago, Melissa and I bonded with these treasured colleagues in ministry. While I was not entirely sure just a few months prior whether the Lord would have me go on this trip that had been planned over two years ago (given what my family has been going through in the nine months leading up to it), I believe that in honoring the covenant we made with one another in our fellowship, this will be yet another transformative experience for us, much like my family’s pilgrimage to the Philippines this summer was spiritually. As such, in my absence, I am pleased to once again welcome to preach for our Sunday worship services at the end of this month the Rev. Dr. Bob Hunter and the Rev. Dr. Rose Niles through the generosity of Lilly Endowment, Inc.

 
 

The fact that I am led of the Lord to travel apart from my family at this time serves as indication concerning where we are in the journey of God’s healing grace through the ongoing process of grief. Though we may have come far to this point, we have yet a ways to go. I have informed church leadership in recent months of a number of counseling opportunities afforded to me and my family in this season of ministry. We are currently on a waiting list with Brooke’s Place in Indianapolis. This is an organization that provides grief support groups for families with children, free of charge. There is much high regard and good reports about the work of this organization. Their philosophy of care resonates with respect to carefully directed attention tailored especially for children. In addition, I have begun the first of six free sessions over the next six months with a licensed counselor as part of the benefits for ministers of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA). While this benefit is also available to my college-aged dependents, they also have counseling available to them on campus.

 
 

It is remarkable for me to try to comprehend what the Lord has done in our ministry together at First Presbyterian Church, New Castle, Indiana. I am experiencing now a greater freedom in the Lord to venture anew in fresh, renewing ways for the mission and ministry we have been called to accomplish together here. Please keep on keeping on praying more and more increasingly so for God’s revelation and for the Lord’s revival among us yet to be and already being manifested in our midst. I know this is not me, but the Holy Spirit working all things for good. May we all be lifted up in the Lord’s presence to greater heights for God’s glory.

 
 

In Christ,

Pastor Rex

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~ by rexespiritu on October 20, 2010.

4 Responses to “Passages Along the Journey in Faith”

  1. Daddy, i love you. 🙂 we are all praying for your safety, and spiritual walk. HUG

  2. praying for you brother rexy.

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