Friday, April 01, 2016

"A Heap of Rubble"

Luke 21.5-6 The Message

“One day people were standing around talking about the Temple, remarking how beautiful it was, the splendor of its stonework and memorial gifts. Jesus said, ‘All this you’re admiring so much — the time is coming when every stone in that building will end up in a heap of rubble.’”

My wife and kids and I loved to visit grandma’s house. During Spring Break 2010, I took Mom to Virginia Mason Hospital for a biopsy. We learned that the small spots of cancer on her lung spread to her liver. Two years earlier, Mom slipped on a throw rug, fell and broke her neck. She was convalescing nicely. Now this. I brought a cup of coffee to her in bed. Mom was once a beautiful woman. At the time of our hospital visit, she was toothless and covered her mouth with the top sheet when she spoke so I might not notice. She had ‘morning hair’, wore no make-up, and was 82 years old. To me, mom was still beautiful but her body was wearing out. Most remaining parts sagged and hunched a bit more than they did 40 years ago. Eventually, she would stop functioning altogether and go be with Jesus and Dad. I had hoped she would have another strong decade, but that was not God’s plan. I look at Mom and Dad’s framed picture in my family room every day, and every day I miss them.  

Last year my dear wife Adonica died of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She too was a beautiful woman. I was smitten the day I met her on January 13th, 1994, and still smitten 21 1/2 years later when she went to be with Jesus, Mom, and Dad. During the 10 months Adonica battled cancer, she withered to 110 pounds. We watched in horror as the disease ravaged her body, but Adonica was extraordinarily beautiful to me, right up to the end.  

Like the Temple of Jerusalem in the time of Christ, the beauty of all human flesh will slowly decay and abruptly end. In 70 A.D. Christ’s prediction came true and the Temple was reduced to “a heap of rubble”. My precious wife joined all humanity’s “heap of rubble” on August 30th, 2015. 2010. Adonica is with Jesus, but her body is becoming dust awaiting its future resurrection. Until then, she has ‘returned to the earth from whence she came’…

“Till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken;
For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”
Genesis 3.19 NKJV

My parents enjoyed 54 ½ years of marriage together and my dad left mom in good financial shape. For this I will always be grateful. Dad faithfully served needy people in his church and 55+ neighborhood before he died in July, 2005. They did not forget. Members of their community remembered “Gil” and his acts of charity and so served “Betty Lou” in her hour of need. I think that was dad’s unspoken plan: “If I invest in others, after I’m gone they’ll take care of my wife.” I have a great love and respect for my parents. It was hard to watch them age, get sick, and die.

Adonica left the children and me in better shape than she found us. But we badly miss her. We were a family of 4. We are now 4 minus 1. Someday the children and I may accept we have become a family of 3. She was a beautiful woman. Now she is gone. 

The people who stood around “talking about the Temple, remarking how beautiful it was” were surprised when when Jesus said…

“The time is coming when every stone in that
building will end up in a heap of rubble.”

They were jolted into reality when it happened. 

Set things in order. Place priorities where they belong. Pay special attention to your spiritual condition because... “All this you’re admiring so much” in self, or things, or others, will not last. Someday all of it “will end up in a heap of rubble.”
___________________
 
The amazing photographs above were taken by Stephanie Daly in the Golan Heights and posted on her blog in a photo essay entitled "A picture is worth a thousand words" on May 28, 2009 (http://stephaniedaly.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words/). In Stephanie's words:
"Witnessing the destruction in the Golan Heights was an extremely moving and emotional experience. More than anything, just to see evidence of the Arab-Israli conflict made this monstrosity of an issue a reality. It is mind boggling and devastating. Hopefully these images can give a glimpse of the experience."

No comments: