This past weekend was one of great celebration in our family. My younger sister, Sarah Beth, got married in a small, family ceremony at a little venue near her home in Memphis. Saturday was the culmination of months of planning and prayer and thankfully everything went smoothly.
What amazed me most about the whole event was the amount of planning that went into every detail. I performed the service and worked on the ceremony for months in advance. My mom took charge of the decorating and had a boxes of decorations for each room and then further divided boxes for each table in each room. Flowers had to be arranged. Food was ordered weeks in advance. The wedding party's suits and dresses were all custom ordered for each individual person. Invitations had to be sent - not only for the wedding but for all the showers, dinners, and parties that celebrated their engagement. Nothing was left to chance. The only variable was the weather, and thankfully we were blessed with a warm, sun-filled spring day. Everything rehearsed, everything planned. My family and my sister's new husband's family spent months making sure everything would be just right.
What kind of planning are you doing in your life? Are you planning tonight's meal? Are you planning to take a vacation? Are you planning to get married? Are you planning to have a baby? Are you planning to retire? Are you planning for what comes next?
The great thing about the wedding is we knew when it was coming. I knew I had to have the ceremony ready by April 26. The caterers knew what time to arrive at the venue. The family knew what time photographs were going to be taken. We knew it was coming, so we prepared.
We all have an appointment to keep with death, but we don't know when it will come. Many of us will live for many more years and grow old and grey, but some of us will be taken sooner by disease or accident. No matter when death comes, we need to be prepared. We need to make the most of our relationships with family and friends. We need to say the things that need saying, and we need to do those things which need doing. We need to stop being afraid to live so that we can embrace all that life has to offer. Make that call. Send that card. Meet that person for dinner. Ask her out. Tell him, "I love you."
Ultimately, the best way to prepare for death is by committing to a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is only when we are prepared to die that we can fully begin to live. Explore the pages of Scripture. Look for God in nature's beauty, in the laughter of a child, in the embrace of a friend.
Soak up all the glory that is in the world which is made all the more wonderful because it is fleeting. You will never have this moment again. Don't live looking back with regret. Live looking forward with hope. Life is beautiful, but we need to take the time to appreciate its splendor. Resolve to look for the good in every situation and then watch as love and life and light are manifested before your eyes.
Dare to hope.
Dare to dream.
Dare to fall in love.