I CREATED THIS 16” x 20” Oil painting from photo references several years ago. To me, it expresses Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd…”
I see this art piece for our Thought—Passing—reminding me of how God orchestrates our ‘passing’ through stages of life, much like the shepherd with his or her sheep. At the appropriate time sheep are passed from one field through the gate to a fresh ‘green pasture’. Ultimately our Heavenly Father allows us to ‘pass’ from these bodies into His eternal presence.
I WONDERED WHAT word to best describe this week’s Thought. Death? Resurrection? Or any number a thesaurus might suggest? ‘Passing’ seemed to work best. It conveys a positive movement from one condition or circumstance to another. Think of it as a child, with excitement, looking forward to ‘passing’ from their present grade into the next. Progress! New experience! Excitement! New friends!
A New Word
IT’S BEEN MORE than a year since we first began to hear ‘Coronavirus’ in the United States. Now it is on the minds of everyone as COVID-19. First came a rush for testing, then overcrowded hospitals, followed by the hope for a vaccine and how to get to ‘herd immunity’ and some kind of ‘new normal’. Everyone knows someone personally or through a friend who has been infected. Too often we’ve also known of someone who ‘passed’ away.
2020 & 1918
THE U.S. POPULATION at the start of 2020 numbered just over 331 million people. We are the third largest country in the world, outnumbered only by China and India, at just over 1.4 billion and just under 1.4 billion, respectively. The numbers of Coronavirus deaths as of March 24, 2021: In the world, 2,740,000; In the U.S., 545,293; In MN, 6,892. How do these compare with the 1918 pandemic?
IT IS ESTIMATED that in 1918 about 500 million people (one-third of the world’s population) became infected with the Influenza Pandemic. The number of deaths is estimated to be at least 20 to 50 million worldwide. The United States population in 1918 was 103.2 million with 675,000 deaths. With modern day advantages (and yet with three times the population) today compared to 1918, the death numbers are currently lower than in 1918.
Can This Be Death?
LAST WEEK A POEM surfaced that I had not before seen. It was written 55 years ago by Marj’s sister Sharon. When Sharon wrote the poem, she was in her early 20s. I want to share it with you today.
“Can this be death?
Can this be the long awaited for and dreaded death?
The only pain I feel is for those I am leaving behind.
There is no fear in my heart.
My body has felt much pain during my illness,
but the last few days I have felt nothing.
I’m resting for the first time in months.
I see all the people dressed in white coming in and out
looking at me poking, punching, listening.
They do not smile, but they do not cry.
I see the faces of those I love.
Sometimes they cry.
But if they only knew the wonderfulness
of this departing never to cry again.
Never to feel pain again.
In a short time, I will leave this body and all of those
who have been so dear to me through the years.
I wish I could tell them one last goodbye.
I wish I could tell them of my joy.
When I try to speak the words are silent.
But they will know when they see the smile
on my face, when I see heaven open and Jesus with
his arms outstretched waiting to greet me.
My family will miss me, and I them but I
have not been with them for some time now.
I will see them again when it is their time to
meet the Savior.
Death need not be a weeping event.
It can be met with a smile.
Come to me death that I may forever smile.
May I go to sleep only to wake up in
the arms of Jesus.” 
Sharon Luther (Street) 5/30/1966
Psalm 23 begins with, “The Lord is my shepherd. but it ends with… “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. The Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 1:21
“We are unceasing spiritual beings with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe.” Dallas Willard
 Thank you, Sharon Luther (Street), for sharing your poem Can This Be Death