Page 252 was a day filled with variety and a look back as well as a look ahead. It began before daylight with the usual cleaning of the bathrooms and hallways then collecting trash from around the building and taking it out. With a rainy morning making it somewhat cooler outside, I spent some time trying to adjust the cooling system in an attempt to keep the building as comfortable as possible. I had an 8:30 AM dentist appointment so once everything in the building was set for the day, I headed to the dentist for a six-month cleaning. As I sat in the chair getting my teeth cleaned, I thought back to my first visit to this dentist about a year and a half ago. During that first visit, there was a question on the new patient form about previous visits to the dentist and the date of the last visit. I remember doing the math and writing down that it had been somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 – 40 years since my last visit to a dentist and I couldn’t remember the actual date. 🙂 It’s not that I had a problem with dentists, I just wasn’t in the habit of going and didn’t have a pressing need for any dental work until recently. Now, at the end of each visit, I schedule my next cleaning appointment and then I don’t worry about how long it has been or if it’s time to return — I simply keep my appointments.
As I thought about that, my mind went immediately to a friend who always talked about the Sunday worship gathering at church — specifically the sharing together in the Lord’s Supper — as a weekly appointment. He would talk regularly about our need to keep our appointment with each other and with the Lord. As our gatherings would end, he would often pray about God watching over each of us until we gather at “the next appointed time”. One of the things in next week’s prayer guide is a focus on God’s command to not give up meeting together. Most Christians know the importance of meeting together for worship and mutual encouragement yet many find it far too easy to let distractions keep them away from church gatherings. We would do well to make an appointment each week to gather together in remembrance of Jesus and at the conclusion of each meeting reconfirm our commitment to keeping our appointment the following week.
After the dentist appointment, it was back to work for a while before calling it a day in order to attend the funeral service for one of my aunts. As I watched the photo slide show at the funeral home, it was a trip back in time as it brought back memories of childhood with my cousins as we would play in my grandparents’ barn during the times we would get together. Later my aunt and uncle had put in a pool with a diving board so it was a favorite place for me to visit. Not only was it a look back, but this aunt was my mom’s sister and today she looked eerily like my mom so in a way it was an unwelcomed look forward. Very few of us like to think of the end of life for our loved ones, but unless Jesus returns first it is something we will all face. It is only through a faithful relationship with Jesus that we can look forward to the end of this life on earth with great hope and confidence of life eternal.
As the day began to fade away, I picked up my camera and went outside to take a few photos. I put a fixed-length 35 mm lens on my camera so it was somewhat old school in not having zoom capability and my having to actually have to move to frame the scene I wanted. One of the shots I took was of some sunflowers with a bee approaching one of the flower heads. In keeping with the look back and look ahead, I used modern technology to crop the photo and apply a filter effect to give it a black and white photo look. My first photography experience was way back when I was 8 years old and took photography as a 4-H project. The first year we were required to shoot everything in black and white film so I guess today’s photo is a “Thursday Throwback” to a much earlier time.
I pray that you and I would so greatly value the time we spend with our church family, and with Jesus around His table, that we would make a standing appointment that would take precedent in our busy life. I pray that we would consider the great value of being able to spend time with family and loved ones, even as we consider the brevity of life. I pray that we would be ready for the end of our life on this earth as we put our faith in Jesus and the work He has done on the cross.