FUNERAL ANNOUNCEMENT — for those who wish to attend the funeral service for Pastor Dick Geib, it will be this Friday, July 2nd at 1:00 p.m. in the church sanctuary. Bring a mask as we will be singing two hymns. A time of greeting with the family will be held from Noon to 1:00 p.m. in our Family Life Center.
DEVOTION — Yesterday morning I enjoyed an experience that I have not had for fourteen months … makin’ a regular ol’ hospital visit. For the entirety of the pandemic, LGH – where most of our church members land when they need hospital care – has only allowed “end of life” visits with parishioners that were hospitalized. I’m not complaining. I was very grateful that I was able to be present with a few of our members over the past year, as they lived out their final hours of life. And LGH’s policy was simply one of the necessary steps the hospital needed to take, so as to keep their environment as safe as possible for patients and staff. But visitation has always been the lifeblood of my ministry, and seeing members in the hospital has always been a high priority here at St. Peter’s, as in many churches. So when we received word last week from the chaplain’s office that clergy would be allowed to visit again, I could hardly wait for Monday to arrive.
I had to wait a bit, as Mondays always start with a mid-morning worship staff meeting. But as soon as that meeting was done, I was heading south on 501 into the city. It was a beautiful, refreshing drive with little traffic. I found a parking spot on a lower level of the garage. There were no other clergy in the chaplain’s office so I was able to get the green authorization sticker for my hospital badge in just a few minutes. And the stairwells were open for use, so I could get in a modest constitutional by taking the stairs to the 6th floor. Every staff member I passed seemed warm in their greetings, and the nurse in the unit where our parishioner was a patient was extremely helpful in connecting me to her room. It was a perfect day for my return to hospital visitation. God was good indeed on this 28th day of June 2021.
I could hardly wait to write my devotion last night, about this “perfect day.” So, after an evening Zoom meeting and a few “honey-do” jobs at home were completed, I said a quick prayer for faithful thoughts and relived the day in my mind prepared to write up the best devotional ever. And … I realized something … the day wasn’t in fact “perfect.” The weather was not in fact “refreshing” but stinking hot. Half of my drive found me behind a box truck whose speedometer hadn’t see 20 MPH since the Truman administration. My “constitutional” was in fact a bit painful, because my knees are far worse off than they were in March of 2020, and I had to stop and rest on the 4th floor landing for a few minutes. And the nurses were helpful, but when I stopped at the nurse’s station to make sure I could visit, I was first told “No, you cannot, because you are not on the designated visitor list.” (I did eventually get clearance from a nursing supervisor.) And I realized … that what made the day feel remarkable was the spirit I brought into that part of the day. I was so excited to make a normal hospital visit that everything seemed just perfect in the moment.
And so, as I wrote last night, the devotion that had rolled around inside my empty skull during the day, gradually clarified itself. What made the day “perfect” was the spirit that God placed in my head and heart. A spirit of excitement over a return to something that I just love to do. A spirit of joy that transformed the rest of my morning … and much of my afternoon as well. A gift of “sight” that saw in the world around me the beauty that God weaves into the ordinary events of life … every … single … day. The Spirit … the Holy Spirit … getting enough of my attention today, to allow God’s beautiful creative presence to be seen and experienced.
Imagine a life in which every day you rose from your bed, you were able to see the world through the eyes of God … and through the brightness of the Holy Spirit … and through the love Jesus has for you. That is God’s plan for you and for me. We simply need to get out of our own way most days, and focus on that gift, instead of the silly obstacles that we let get in the way of our God moments.
You know what? … I think tomorrow is gonna be a “perfect day” too. Wanna join me?