November 20, 2019

Dr. Carl Bradley is our church organist. He’s one of the most gifted musicians I have ever seen. What makes him especially fun to work with is that even though he is a phenomenal musician, Carl does not suffer from an artistic temperament. It’s not about him, it’s about God. He’s the sort of organist that senior pastors dream of working with. Also, just for the record, Carl and I have the same sort of sense of humor. This means he’s a genius.

In looking our church’s history, it is easy to see that we have been blessed throughout the years with many fine musicians. One of these served our church in the early 1980s. His name is Jeffrey Arnold. Many of you will remember when he was at FUMC Temple.

Margaret, our church archivist, recently came across Jeffrey’s obituary. It says everything that needs to be said:

“Jeffery would like everyone to know that his work here is done. He received a call, a sort of offer he couldn’t refuse, from which he will not be returning. This assignment comes with a huge sign-on bonus, job security and a reunion with family and friends he has not seen in a long time. His new mission takes him to a wonderful place where he will be socializing, playing piano, singing and dancing to his heart’s content. Music, laughter and love are guaranteed. The food there is delicious and you never gain an ounce. Jeff left detailed instructions to celebrate his mission here, which has now been completed. Low adherence to this instruction will not be tolerated.”

For those who follow Jesus Christ, death is not to be feared. It is simply a transition from this life to the beautiful eternal life that God has planned for each of us. All we have to do is accept God’s loving grace and we go home. It’s a good deal.

This is why Paul says, ” When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory?

Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:54-58)

Live your life in joy, serving God, and knowing that one day, like Jeffery, you too will receive a sort of offer you cannot refuse. That will be a good day.

Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, thank you for life, death, and the new life it brings. Please help me use my time in this world to bring others into your light. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Someday in heaven, I expect Carl Bradley and Jeffrey Arnold will play a duet. I am looking forward to it.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.

Tom Robbins