Central Baptist Church of Westerly
16 Elm Street, Westerly, RI   02891
Phone: (401) 596-4929   

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Time to Take Off the Tie

                                                        
     May 10, 2017
Dear Friends,

I chuckled as I thought back to a younger version of myself.  At sixteen
years old I swore that there were two things I was never going to do when
I grew up.  I never wanted to wear another necktie.  That wasn't my style.
I didn't want to end up like some stuffed suit.

The second thing I vowed was that I would never attend another funeral.
I had lost my mother, grandmother, and a few friends from school.  It was
just too painful.  Funerals only added to the grief.  If I was to mourn
someone, I wanted to skip the rituals and do it my way.

So you can see why I chuckled.  I am the definition of a stuffed suit. I am
that dad who gets ties for Father's Day.  The real reason for my jocularity
was that I had just presided over my second funeral in a week and my fifth
in the last two and a half weeks.  So much for vows.

It is funny how often we end up doing those things that we say we will never
do.  We say, "I don't want to be like my mother or father."  Then twenty
years later we hear their voices again.  But it is us speaking to our children.
It is then that we find we've become our parents.

The truth is that life is a journey. We can't know where it is going to take us
when we are young.  The best we can hope for is that we have a map that leads
us to a place where we can find meaning and purpose in life.  Our parents help.
They give us a framework.

Yet the best map for a productive life can be found in the Scriptures.  The
Psalmist tells us that God's Word "is a lamp for my feet, a light on my
path."  I've learned that Jesus, in his teaching and in the example of his life,
shows us the way to happiness.

He pointed us to a relationship with God.  He called us to live with a deep
and abiding love for God and a respect and care for our neighbors.  He
warned us of the dangers of selfish pleasures and prideful pursuits.  He told
us that love and forgiveness were Godly traits.

The funeral this morning was for a woman who lived her life this way.  She
was ninety-five years old and a blessing to so many.  I am so glad God didn't
hold me to my vow.  I've learned so much from people who love the Lord
like her.  But about that other thing: I think it's time to take off the tie.

God bless!  See you in church.  

Cal
Pastor Cal Lord's Weekly Epistle
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