"Another Visit With Gerry and Elaine"
Those of you who have been with us awhile may remember our "chance" encounter with Gerry and Elaine Udstuen. We met on a bench in Central Park, New York City in 2010. Gerry struck up a conversation that ended in our rejoicing together as fellow believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Gerry also sang a beautiful version of a hymn to us during our encounter in the park. This may sound a bit unusual, but if you knew Gerry, it would seem completely appropriate. Some people sing in church, some on stages, some in the shower, and a few, well, a few sing everywhere! Gerry occupied a special place among that rare company, and we felt blessed to be his audience. We shared phone numbers and email addresses as we parted, which led to many contacts over the last six years, mainly by phone. Last year, however, Frances and I enjoyed a happy visit to Elaine's home in Hendersonville, North Carolina after we finished a hike. Sadly, but also joyfully, Gerry went to be with the Lord in 2014. I miss him to this day. I'll never forget his closing comment as we parted ways on that day in Central Park. "We may not see each other again down here, but we will up there!" He was right about that. I also cherish something he said to Elaine before he went home to be with our Lord. "Tell Glen I'll be waiting for him." I'm even more sure he was right about that.
During a return visit to New York and to Central Park last week, Frances and I returned to the spot where we met Gerry and Elaine.
It was a blessed moment to snap this photo of Frances on the same bench where God so blessed us more than six years ago. This time, we missed Gerry and Elaine being with us. In truth, however, I think I can say they joined us. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians that he was "absent in body, but present in spirit" (I Corinthians 5:3). I don't know what this means, or how it works, but we felt our dear brother and sister there in a way far more than mere physical presence could offer. Perhaps we felt our Lord there. He was and is the heart of the bond between Gerry, Elaine and ourselves. We know each other through Him, by Him, and because of Him. So, in that sense, I'd say that Frances and I experienced the blessing of our brother and sister yet again in that spiritual communion that far transcends physical proximity.
I do not know how unbelievers live without the blessing of love as known in the body of Christ. Indeed, "to live is Christ", which includes the fellowship we enjoy with brothers and sisters who bring the Lord to us in human expressions of Divine glory. In each other, we know the Lord's life. This was and is the case with Gerry and Elaine (as it is with all of you who receive these messages). Revisiting the site where we met brought the blessed moment to our hearts yet again. It also gave us great hope and anticipation for the blessed eternity wherein we all shall be together forever. Memories of blessed, bygone times with each other direct our hearts to expectations of "the sweet by and by" in our Lord's presence and with each other. So, we look forward to seeing Elaine again in this life, and Gerry in the next. Because I am sure he is waiting for me there, and even more, I have no doubt that he already has a song to sing for me. I cannot wait to hear it!
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore."
"This we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
(I Thessalonians 4:15-17)
Weekly Memory Verse
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made free from the law of sin and death.