Winterville United Methodist Church

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

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April 17, 2017 "A New Chapter"

In 2010 I had finished the project part of the work toward my DMin degree.  The writing of my dissertation lay ahead.

In one respect the writing process was daunting—talking about the grief experience and how the lament psalms did or did not provide hope and help for members of my grief support group.  In the other respect, however, the writing became simple and easy.  After all, there were chapter limits—that which confined my writing.  There even was a maximum page limit.  Chapters could never click on endlessly.  Neither could a hundred pages become two hundred, three hundred or more.

Sometimes life has a way of defining chapter limits and page limits. Sometimes we get difficult diagnoses and despite the best medical treatments, good dietary regimens, hope and faith and trust, chapters of our lives are confined to certain limitations.  That’s tragic.

But the real tragedy is when you and I live our lives as if chapter limits and page limits had been set for us when they have not.  The real tragedy is when we let loss of jobs, disappointments, setbacks, and even downward turns in matters of health to cause us to see ourselves as “in the final chapter,” as having no possibility of a new chapter for the future.

Just as all hope and possibility for a future disappears the Risen Christ shows up.  He offers us the possibility of a new chapter in our lives—the opportunity to live out love and hope with people around us, the opportunity to put a positive stamp on the world.  May we each live fully into the new chapter God wants to write with us in our lives.

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