The Dash and the Honor Guard. Ezekiel 11:19-20

Ezekiel 11:19-20(NLT)
19 And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, 20 so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.

Psalm 1:1
1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.

Friday I went to my uncles funeral in Wausau, WI. 91 years. Vet. Worked at the same place for 30+ years. Nice service.

The stiff hands in the casket, un-naturally floating as if thinking of one last thing to point out. The smile permanently left on his face that I never saw that much (he and my mom didn’t get along to well and I usually saw him in the presence of my mom, so…). The sun shining through the windows giving warmth to the 6f temperature outside. The hand wanting to point out one more thing.

Sermon was about the dash between the dates on our headstone peom (in its entirety at the end). I’ve always liked that poem (and others like it). It speaks of purpose. As we stood by the gravesite after the service, after the lunch, after all the conversations with the cousins, my mom, my sister, the wind blew from the west reminding us that things we can’t see matter. The Honor Guard was there, none of them very agile in the snow and cold. Who will replace them when they pass? Three volleys of shots. Passages read from the Lutheran book of how to. End of service, time to drive home. Dash closed.

A singleness of heart and a new spirit we were given after we had our stony, stubborn hearts that we get from following the wicked, mocking, sinners had been taken away. Yet, here we are in today’s world with the same problems. Yep, nothing changes when it comes to us humans. Fortunately God doesn’t change either.

The Honor Guard was there to announce that all the bodies for this battle, for this day, for this man, had been collected. They did their part. God has done his part and continues to. The Dash and the Honor Guard wait.

Ephesians 2:8(NLT)
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

A gift from God for the people of God. God gives us our dash. He gives us the path forward. He gives us the honor of living to serve Him if we choose it. I know my honor guard won’t be wearing a uniform, nor will it lob three volleys to announce I’ve been gathered up.

I do know that my God will be waiting for me with open arms for being a good soldier in his service. I can’t ask for more. I can strengthen my dash while I’m here, while I still have time.

The Dash by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard. Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent YOUR dash?

by Linda Ellis; Copyright Inspire Kindness, LLC 1996; http://www.thedashpoem.com

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