Stay with me, Jesus
I have a friend. Had a friend who was vivacious, most kind, welcoming you into her heart where ever she found you. Sue and Mel were among the first people we met at church six years ago. It was impossible to resist their warmth and hospitality. We were enfolded into their lives and loved. Mel was one of those people I admire, but don’t completely understand because he was always cheerful, always smiling. Sue had a passion for the arts and without fail posted to her blog, May 1st Everlasting, every Thursday, adding paintings along with thoughts that reflected a life of love and service to God. She joined a little writing group I belonged to and there I got to know her even better.
On this past November 12 Sue posted this:
After being super careful for 8 months, Mr. A. and I let down our guards for a moment – a meeting with masks and social distancing for a few people – and now we both have covid. It’s been going on for 10 days and while we both have been very sick, on Tuesday Mr. A. was hospitalized with double pneumonia. Hence no may1steverlasting perhaps for awhile. Please pray for his oxygen levels and that his lungs can get healthy again. Pray that my oxygen remains strong and that I can be on the mend. This is a very horrible disease. Our son Chris and his wife caught it from us.
Yesterday within thirty minutes of one another, both Sue and Mel died in the ICU after battling COVID 19 for 39 days.
We grieve for their family, their friends, for ourselves. Together they entered perfect joy and rest and are now with Jesus forever. Their passing is both sad and beautiful, but how we will miss them. It has made the words Sue wrote only a few days before she became sick break my heart, but at the same time (how to say this?) be fill it with a strange joy.
Sue writes about Jesus and the disciples at Emmaus. As they walk, he’s been explaining why Christ needed to die and be resurrected. Sue’s post feels prescient, prophetic that she would write this. I turn you over to Sue now:
… today it’s this verse from Luke that has buckled my knees:
..but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.
The entire passage is rich, but this one verse has called out to me this week -as I listen to friends and television and hear the voices of folks, anxious, overwhelmed, fearful and hoping to be heard.
Stay with me Jesus, the pet scan revealed another hot lesion . . .
Stay with me Jesus, my child is wandering . . .
Stay with me Jesus, I may not have the strength to carry the load ahead . . . .
Stay with me Jesus, I’m old and forgetting things I used to know . . . .
I witnessed a woman with an older boy who had some mental or emotional affliction as she walked him out of JoAnn Fabric hollering at the top of his lungs. I could see her straining towards dignity pleading silently, stay with me Jesus.
Our nation is united only in its distress and exhaustion over the Presidential election. Suspicion and loathing have come into the national consciousness – to the point where some dare not ask what their neighbors – or even family members – are thinking. Stay with us Jesus.
This line from Luke 24 is of course, part of the resurrection story. Two men had encountered the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus and not recognizing him they had informed him of the amazing events of the past few days. The Lord began to tell them of the meaning of these events – so when they got to Emmaus and evening was upon them, they begged him to stay.
And here’s the deal: Jesus did stay with them. He blessed the bread at the meal and gave it to them. At that moment they knew him and then he vanished. “Did not our hearts burn within us?”, they said.
What a wealth of the Lord’s goodness in this story! He chooses to walk with us. He will stay with us. He will give us understanding. He will bless and feed us. We will know Him. Our hearts will be on fire.
It was their plea, it is our prayer; stay with us, the night is near, the day is now far spent.