From The Pastor At St. Paul's UCC, Freeburg, IL

Unfinished Business

A friend of mine died a couple of weeks ago, and I attended her funeral. She had been a quilter, loved to quilt, and in her last few weeks really, really wanted to finish a quilt to give to her young-adult son. Even after her brain cancer left her disoriented in time, even after I and all her family realized she’d never be able to quilt again in this life, she persisted in wanting to complete this quilt for her son. Our church quilt group offered to “help” her finish it (meaning doing most of the work), but my friend was obsessed with completing this quilt for her son herself.

She never finished the quilt. It bothered me some that her deep, nearly final desire was left unsatisfied. So I said at the graveside service that like my friend, we all come to the end of this life with unfinished business. I don’t mean just the unfinished business there often is in friends and family relationships. I mean life’s unfinished business. When I think of the hopes and dreams and aspirations that I’ve had, and compare it to my own lived life, I realize there’s so much left that’s still deeply desired and still un-accomplished.  There’s so much more I want to be – more grace-full, more merciful, stronger, more humble, more resistant to the opinions and approval of others. And will I ever have time in this life to get there? After 57 years, it seems more and more doubtful with each passing year.

We all come to the grave with unfinished business – because we are finite faulty human beings made in the image of an infinite and perfect God. We cannot finish this business ourselves. We rely on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter, the author and finisher of our faith, to finish our business for us. To knit up our threadbare and raveled little lives into one, glorious, infinitely beautiful and complete quilt.

Thanks be to God!

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One response

  1. Beautifully said,Earl. There is no doubt that your friend has found her “new home” so complete in the presense of God, that the old unfinished desires and goals we fail to accomplish here, are totally forgotten. However, her desire to finish the quilt for her son, even on her death bed, is a great testimonial of her deep love for her child. Her “story” reminds me of Christ’s desire to complete his final act of love for us while still on this earth.

    In Sympathy,
    Debbie

    July 4, 2008 at 9:03 am

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