Glencairn Methodist Church
Recently a friend of mine died suddenly. We were the same age and I have known him for over half a century. There is a photograph in my study of the two of us along with about 13 other boys who played rugby for the under 14 team at Belfast "Inst". Furthermore for at least the last two decades we were colleagues at the university. Bill was a lovely man and I shall miss him with his keen sense of humour and his optimistic outlook on life. My prayers are for his widow, his children and his grandchildren.
Now I know that this is not an unusual experience for folk, but when a lifelong friend dies suddenly, one starts to reflect on one's own mortality. Recent I was ill and when the consultant told me what his diagnosis was, I had never heard of it before. This is unusual for me as I am the hypochondriac in our family! So I asked him, "Is this bad?", his reply was, "Well it is not good!".
However, thanks to the marvellous, God inspired discoveries of medical science, and much prayer by family and friends, I am still here albeit with a daily diet of pills. Now I am not asking God why Bill died and I didn't. His illness was hidden and struck suddenly and fatally. But I do ask God what am I do do with the rest of my time on earth. His answer to me seems to be to go on loving those whom I love and who love me, and to do the work he has called me to do as a priest in his church.
We can all prepare for sudden death. One thing to do is make sure you write a will. This removes much of the hassle you might otherwise leave your family. But most important is to make sure you are "right with God". A teenager in our parish died recently from leukaemia. He had given his life to Christ and among his last words to his friends were these, "If you want to meet up with me again, then get right with God."
Do it now, today! Even if you are expecting to live long enough to get the telegram from the Queen - and we all do - not only will it ensure your life with Christ in eternity, but it will make a huge difference to the rest of your 100 years on earth.
29 April 2008
NOTE - Previous "Monthly Messages" are archived at http://glencairn.connor.anglican.org/previousmessages.htm