You know the poem, the one of a dream with two sets of footprints in the sand. One set is yours and the other set Jesus’. When life got hard there was just one set of prints, causing you to wonder, where were you when I needed you Jesus? His answer: That’s when I carried you.
Last Saturday the La Crosse Tribune’s top two trending stories were Erin Mathews — number one and Obituaries — number two. Erin (Dunlap) Mathews had passed through death into our Lord’s eternal care on Thursday. Last week her father’s poignant announcement of her death was posted to a local congregation’s Facebook page and 40,000 people clicked on it. He remembered his daughter’s love of dancing and their recent father-daughter dance at her wedding. He wrote in faith, “We look forward to our next dance, Erin.”
In faith, there is always more to the story. There is also more to the Foot Prints in the Sand story. Eventually the parallel sets of prints continue on down the beach in the dream. Then the prints merge together as the disciple learns to walk in Jesus’ steps. But something happens. The second set of footprints comes back, with zigzags all over the place. Stops. Starts. Deep gashes in the sand. A mess of prints and the dream ends. Again you wonder: the two sets of prints becoming one – wasn’t that indicative of becoming like you? And Jesus answers: Yes. What happened when the footprints went back to two, zigzags and everything, what was that all about? To which Jesus laughs and points out: That’s when we danced.
The Bible promises a time to mourn and a time to dance. God is present in both activities. Just as God is present when we remember those who inspire us, and their stories that warm us, their joy and bravery and love for life. I think a large part of why people come to congregations on cold mornings- is to brush up against other peoples’ lovely stories.
See you in church.