I have a friend; we will call him George, who is completely lost to the world. Unfortunately this wonderful and brilliant man now has a form of cognitive decline and often is not aware of his surroundings. The last time we had a visit he believed himself to be at the bank. The time before that he welcomed me to sit with him at the coffee shop as he waited for a fresh cup of java; both times he was safely in his room.
This last time, as he explained how he was waiting for the bank teller to return, I purposely got out my bible and turned to the first page, a picture of Jesus, and turning the picture toward George I asked, “Hey, do you know who this is?”
He paused, smiled his big signature smile and said, “I know him! He is my friend.”
“Yes” I said, “And he said he would be our Shepherd.”
George nodded his head and started, “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures…”. Together we recited the 23rd Psalm. Once done, while holding the picture of Jesus up again I said, “Your friend has also taught us how to pray.”
“Oh, yes. He did,” said George, “ It goes like this, “ Our Father who art in heaven….”. Together we recited the prayer.
Partway through the prayer, to my utter surprise, my voice caught on the lump that had formed in my throat. Tears had formed in the corners of my eyes. I paused realizing this divine drenched moment had moved me to tears.
When we had completed the Lord’s Prayer George smiled and said, “That friend never leaves me and he has been there for me through so much.”
This is a man of great faith, an enduring faith. He was always involved at his church carrying with him the compassion, joy, wisdom and love of God. Everyone who knew him knew he was a Christian. This never left him, even when he seems lost to the world, he isn’t lost to Jesus.
We are each being welcomed into an eternal relationship with the one who will lead us into life abundant. A life abundant with meaning, joy, purpose, hope, accompaniment and grace upon grace. We are being invited to follow the one who knows our hearts, our stories, our failures, what grieves us and what gives us joy. This God offers us a sustaining faith to carry us through this life and to the life beyond.
What an amazing invitation!
Rev. Heather McCarrel