Today's Word for Pastors...
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Today's Preaching Insight...
I'll Hold You Again in Heaven
Of all deaths, that of a child is most unnatural and hardest to bear. We expect the old to die. While that kind of separation is always difficult, it comes as no surprise. But the death of a young child or a youth is a different matter. Life with its beauty, wonder, and potential lies ahead for them. Death is a cruel thief when it strikes down the young.
In a way that is different from any other relationship because a child is bone of his parents' bone and flesh of their flesh. When a child dies, part of the parent is buried.1 So writes Joseph Bayly, who had the sad duty of burying three of his children.
When we lose a child, the effect is widespread. It not only touches the parents, but it can involve siblings, grandparents, friends, and caregivers in a unique way. In the Scripture there is a story that offers us some insight and comfort as we share in this grief. David and Bathsheba's little boy lived only seven days.
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Illustration: Purpose, Direction
Former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice once told graduates of the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson that they have a responsibility to be "optimistic" in their lives.
"I first learned this lesson from hearing stories about my paternal grandfather," she said. "Grandfather Rice was a poor farmer's son in Eutaw, Alabama. One day, he decided to get book-learning. So he asked, in the language of the day, where a colored man could go to school.
"They said that a little Presbyterian school, Stillman College, was only about 50 miles away. So he saved up his cotton to pay for the first year's tuition. After the first year, he ran out of cotton and he needed a way to pay. My grandfather asked the school administrators how those other boys were staying in school, and he was told that they had what was called a scholarship.
"They said, 'If you want to be a Presbyterian minister, you could have a scholarship, too.' My grandfather said, 'That's just what I had in mind.'"
The moral of the story, she said: "In America, it is not about where you are coming from, but where you are going."
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