The Last Word
I got a phone call, on a Saturday, many years ago, from a nurse at the Belleville hospital saying my Dad was in Emergency. He had fallen and they had checked him out. She told me he was okay, and that I could come and get him and take him home. I explained that I lived a three hour car ride away and that, as a minister, Saturdays were a busy day for me. However, I jumped in the car and headed to Belleville.
When I got to the hospital, a doctor took me aside and showed me an x-ray, explaining that he was concerned about what looked like a little pack man bite out of one of his leg bones; He thought it might be bone cancer and told me to bring him back Monday for further testing. However, seeing that my Dad was in such intense pain and could not function, they admitted him to the hospital instead. Sure enough, it was cancer and in less than two weeks time, he passed away.
I returned to Hamilton, carried out my Pastoral duties, went down with Graham to see him on a Friday and had a great visit. No one, at this time, had told me how serious his illness was. Maybe they didn’t know?
I returned home to deal with some things and phoned him on Wednesday. Instead of getting him, I got a Palliative care nurse on the phone who instructed me to get to Belleville right away. I jumped in the car and drove that evening to Belleville. On Thursday, I was able to see him. He was very weak. I kissed him on the head and told him I loved him. He told me he loved me and those were the last words he spoke. He was gone by 7:00 am the following morning. He was in the loving arms of Jesus.
I share this with you as we close the week because I believe it is so important to tell people, when we get the opportunity, that we love them. I was so thankful I got that opportunity with my Dad. They are the most powerful words we can speak. We need to not only tell those around us, we also need to demonstrate it. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that love (agape) is a verb. As Jesus said, “Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 NIV). Jesus put God’s love into action and He calls us to do the same.
Remember, “How great is the love God lavished on us that we should be called the children of God." (1 John 3:1 NIV) God loves us with an “everlasting love.” It is, as one author states, “He carries a picture of us around in his wallet!”
I want to close this week by saying thank you. Thank you, Jesus, for loving me and giving your life for me (John 3:16). Thank you to all the people who love me as Husband, Dad, Pastor and friend. You are awesome and I am so blessed. I love you too!
God bless you. Keep safe and celebrate God’s love today – Pastor Ralph