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Strangers and pilgrims
"This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through," was the closing hymn at Ray Enright's funeral. We sat in St. Mark's Lutheran Church in North St. Paul and remembered the great times with Ray. He lived much of his 80 years in our city. He was active and volunteered in most of the service clubs including the food shelf. Perhaps the endeavor that stands out in my mind was his Christian activity. Even though he could not drive the last two or three years, he was at our men's Bible study every Wednesday until a few weeks before his promotion to heaven.
In Hebrews 11:13 and I peter 2:11 the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter refer to God's people as strangers and pilgrims on planet earth. In the Old Testament, Moses referred to Abraham and the patriarchs as sojourners and pilgrims in a foreign land. They were looking for the promised land. Ray Enright, though active in North St. Paul was simply passing through to the promised land. He was not a Christian tourist on earth; he was an active sojourner passing through.
After Ray's funeral we went over to The Eagan Hills Alliance Church for another visitation. This one was much harder for me. It was for my own son, Steve. He was only 47 and died from a cerebral hematoma that leaked blood into his cranial cavity. It was a situation that likely could have been fixed had he gone to the emergency room. We so often hear the expressions what if, could of, should of, etc.
As a chaplain who has been called to many difficult death scenes, these expressions have often been heard by me. It is different when it's your own family member. The real significant issue is to know that we are pilgrims in a foreign land. Eight years or 47, life on earth is short. Eternity is forever. God wants all to be saved and spend eternity in heaven (I Timothy 2:4 and II Peter 3:9). He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Yes, our Lord came to die and to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).
Sometimes it enters my mind that some who read this column have not yet repented and invited the Lord into their lives. This grieves our Lord. He bought us on Calvary but does not force us to be born again. Jesus tells u in John 3:3 that unless a man is born again, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Steve had long ago repented and invited the Lord into his life. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for all of us; let's not let Him down.
For the 2010 Club, Feb. 21 takes us to Numbers 6 and Mark 4.
Have a great week with the Lord in your life.
Crist Langelett, known to North St. Paul and Maplewood readers as a longtime Review columnist, is a chaplain for the North St. Paul city, police and fire departments, a chaplain at Washington County Jail, a past president of the North St. Paul Area Emergency Food Shelf and one of the founders of North St. Paul's Polar Arena. He is active in his local church and in civic groups.