Thursday Thoughts

One of our office volunteers, Lisa, is always putting up wonderful inspirational quotes around the building. I found this one by an unknown author, on my office door the other day. “Peace — it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

     Darn it! Sometimes I want a peace with no noise, trouble or hard work. But that is not the peace you find at First United Methodist Church in Salinas. What I am discovering is what the Apostle Paul called — “the peace that passes understanding.” To be able to stand with those who are hurting, frightened, angry, oppressed, traumatized, addicted, mentally ill, and dying — and still be able to say, “it is well with my soul.” To feel connected to God, self, and others in spite of the daily stress, the disappointments, the heartache.

    Thank you Lisa, for taping that reminder to my door. To all of you — May the peace of Christ be with you.



Thursday Thoughts

I have presided at a few funerals and memorial services lately. For some odd reason, for many pastors, it seems that deaths happen in twos or threes. It will be several months since I have presided at a funeral or memorial service and then all of a sudden there will be a string of them.

While death is difficult, it is a wonderful reminder of the preciousness and mystery of life. Life is fragile and we must handle with care. In September of 2010 my mother died and five months later my father died. I still miss them. Not long ago, my older brother said to me, “Steve, do you think about our parents much?” I answered, “Just about every day.” They are good and happy memories and they make me smile. Thank God for that.  

After my father’s death, I wrote these words:

On the evening of February 3, my father took his last breath. I had the honor of being in the room with him. He was a private man but I think he would have liked me being with him for the ending of his 90 year journey and the beginning of his journey into the Mystery.

I have witnessed death and birth and they are oddly similar. You enter with nothing and you take nothing with you. You take your first breath and you take your last breath. People often (not always) enter the world in a way that somehow reflects their personality and likewise they leave in a way that somehow reflects their personality. Both events are filled with wonder, holiness, and mystery. At birth there is this wondering, what will this precious one become? At death it is a looking back instead of forward — what was the meaning of this life? At birth we start immediately accumulating stuff. At death, we divide up the stuff or get rid of it.

I have no idea what this mystery of death is like and what happens next. You may think – “well what kind of pastor are you?” My answer, “an honest one.” I have heard wonderful stories of people dying and leaving their bodies, tunnels of light and then a return, never to fear death or doubt God again. I have heard marvelous stories from those who experienced the comforting presence of a loved one after they died. I love these stories. I don’t doubt them, but I just don’t know. “Behold I tell you a mystery.”

What do I know? In the beginning – God! In the end – God! In between – God! Perhaps the in between is the most unclear and uncertain. And so we have each other. Let’s share life. Let’s build community. Let’s encourage each other.

Blessings,    Steve     



Pastor Steve Lundin