Thursday, May 28, 2009
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.* ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’ " Luke 10:25-28
On Tuesday morning, my mother and I went out to plant flowers on my father's and her father's grave. We had fully intended to do this on Memorial Day, but it was very hot, and I thought we should wait for the cool of the early evening. The early evening brought rain and so we waited. The next morning was drizzling and gray but very cool, so we took our trowel and the plants and headed out. Knowing that the cemetery maintenance folks will probably mow these plants down at some time, we took only a few to plant close to the headstone.
My father is buried in the veteran's part of the cemetery (headstones like at Arlington) which was festooned with flags. My Gramps is buried at the edge of the church cemetery under a simple, almost flat, marker. We visited my Dad first, and were grateful that the rain had made the ground soft for our planting. Then we headed over to find my grandfather WalkingStick's grave. It is a little tricky because the stone is flat to the ground and hard to pick out from the road. But as we scanned the edge of the cemetery, we saw a big round, brown rabbit, Tsi-s-du, standing watch over the grave. There was no flag planted, although he was a vet. He served during World War I with the British Red Cross Service. Tsisdu (pronounced Jeesdu) waited until we had seen the headstone and were making our way there. Then the little critter slowly loped off, turning and stopping several times until we arrived at our destination.
We are meant by God to be caretakers and neighbors of one another. When we fail to do that, we fail to really love God. But God, who loves us so much more than we can imagine, still finds helpers when the humans of the world aren't able. We needed a guide and were sent the little rabbit. Did I mention that when my mother was a child their dog was named Tsisdu. Love, even though gone from this visible and tangible frame, do not die, but lives. Even when we can't receive it or know it, God's creation becomes the hands of love.
May today be a day of visitors and strangers. May we, like the good Samaritan that Jesus tells the rich young ruler about, offer our help and hands where they are needed today. May we love, a least a little, the way God loves. And may we know that all of creation echoes the love of the Creator, willing to help us find our way, love willing to live beyond death and all the boundaries we build.