Sunday, January 08, 2006

Solace for the Inconsolable

The job of a pastor, beyond bringing God's word to God's people, is to give voice before God to God's people. The pastor speaks for the congregation, and all together wait for God to speak in reply.

Vincent Van Gogh, in addition to being a painter, was a pastor. His first call was to a town of coal miners, Ken Gire reports in his book The Weathering Grace of God. One sermon given there, while no easy fix to the grief of those families suffering the loss of their loved ones this week, gives voice to the challenge of life and the solace that awaits us at life's end:

The traveler asked: "Does the road go uphill all the way?"
The angel answered: "Yes, to the very end."
And he asked again: "And will the journey take all day long?"
The angel said: "From morn till night, my friend." . . .
"Then I shall be more and more tired . . . but also nearer and nearer to Thee."

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