Contemplating life, kindness, and death

Outdoor solitude for young man

I spent the night last night, again, in front of Saint John Neumann Catholic Church in Laredo, Texas. I woke up many times during the night, as I always do, sleeping on the ground or concrete, as I was last night.

I awoke at sunrise, which was quite beautiful, as it often is in the desert southwest, and I awoke again around 8 am, as people began arriving for some sort of meeting.

Cup-Cold-WaterThe office didn’t open until 8:30, and I was hoping not to have been there by then, or at most to have seen only one or two persons who were coming in to work. As it was, many people were showing up at 8, so I got up, packed my stuff, said my prayers (in Spanish) and was just getting up to leave when a lady brought me a cup of hot coffee and a breakfast taco which, as you might imagine, tasted much better than it would have for most people, since I’m used to doing without coffee and food first thing in the morning, now, until I can walk somewhere to find it, but it tasted especially good to me this morning because someone had given it to me out of the kindness of their heart, and for the love of Christ, having given it to a person who obviously doesn’t have (and really doesn’t need) much of this world’s goods: me.

This sort of kindness has been shown to me before, at other churches I’ve spent the night sleeping outside of, and I am always most grateful for such kindness, asking God’s blessings on his good people who show me such kindness, and I am always reminded of what Jesus said:

“And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.” ~ Matthew 10:42

Which, in my case, today, most especially included hot coffee and a breakfast taco!

Interestingly enough, after I had moved to the front side of the church building, so as to not be in the way or in the notice of people arriving for the early morning meeting, a funeral procession also began arriving at the church.

As the hearse rolled into the small parking lot, followed by carloads of family and friends, I was reminded of another verse of Scripture, and I said to myself, paraphrasing the verse:

“We all go the way of all the earth.”

ashes_to_ashes__dust_to_dust__by_cheesysteele-d3nfklw_large“And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.” ~ Joshua 23:14

“Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself” ~ 1 Kings 2:1-3

I prayed for the soul of the departed, that God grant them rest and peace, as well as for the family and friends left behind, now saddened by their recent loss.

Whenever I’m traveling and happen to see a cemetery, or a graveyard, I always say to myself:

“That’s where I’m going.”

And that’s where we’re all going, before too long, and we can be certain, as Job said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” ~ Job 1:21

And, as Saint Paul once wrote to Timothy:

“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:7


About ajmacdonaldjr

writer, author, blogger
This entry was posted in Bible, Charity, Ethics, Literary Theory, Religion, Society, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Contemplating life, kindness, and death

  1. I am using a hymn written by a United Church of Canada musician called Ashes, Earth and Dust that I have copyright for through our UCC resource publication called Gathering (Lent/Easter p. 62) I try to introduce the hymns that I project electronically with a photo and wondered if I could use your photo with credit given of the sand/dirt pouring through the hand?
    With thanks
    Rev. MM Boone

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