The New Testament reading for April 9 fit perfectly with our chapel guest, Bailey Heard. Bailey’s husband Andrew passed away last year from lung cancer at the age of 30. Bailey shared an inspirational story of Andrew’s determination to make the most of every moment that he had left on this earth. Following his diagnosis of cancer he went on to write two books. A Gray Faith: Walking Through the Dark Parts of This Life, is about walking in faith during difficult and challenging trials. The second book was an Alphabet picture book of animals for his daughter Ellie. He drew an animal for each letter and included an inspirational quote on each page as well.
Andrew’s determination to complete those books after his diagnosis is such an inspiration to me. He could have easily decided to spend his time focusing on himself and doing all the things that he enjoyed doing. Instead he felt compelled to finish the book because he wanted it to be a lasting testimony of his faith that would serve as an encouragement to others.
Luke 13:1-9 is an interesting parable that is only found in Luke’s gospel. The crowd asked Jesus if a group of Gentiles that were murdered by Pilate deserved to die in such a horrific manner. Jesus responded to say that there is no equation at work that justifies or explains why bad things happen to people. Human nature wants an explanation for things and we often jump to a similar conclusion when something bad happens to someone as we wonder “what did they do to deserve that?” The answer that Jesus provides, “but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” is a great reminder for us. Notice Jesus rejected the notion that they deserved to be murdered but emphasized that all of us will die and it is most important that we be prepared no matter when or why the death occurs. Of course we want answers and explanations but Jesus reminds us that the most important element is that we acknowledge our need for him and recognize Him as the Son of God while we have the opportunity.
In the same way, Andrew Heard reminds us to live our lives with meaning and purpose as we don’t know when our lives will end. We have not been promised long and healthy lives but we must be faithful with the life we are given, no matter how long that life may be. In the words of the Psalmist: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)