Explanations for the “Information Please” Reading
My name is Ken Hart. Our church started providing Daily Devotionals at the end of 2014. It has my been my privilege to put them together over this time period and I am thankful for the opportunity to continue with this ministry as we go forward. The Devotionals run Monday through Friday. Back around Thanksgiving I started posting stories on holidays and weekends. Stories are a big part of my work world. I have been a hospice Chaplain for over 8 years and the people I care for relate very well to stories. Going forward for a while, I thought I would post some of these stories on Saturdays and share on Sundays how I apply them to those I care for. The kind of needs I address day after day are universal and I am confident that the things I share on weekends will be helpful to everyone. This sharing coupled with the weekday Devotionals will give us something to relate to every day of each week.
Yesterday’s post is the seventh story I use in my work that I wanted to tell you about. The key phrase in our story is, “There are other worlds to sing in.” But before we get to this, I want to talk about a couple of things mentioned early in the story. First, there is the old fashioned wall-mounted telephone. I like to point out that this kind of phone was before my time, but that I do remember them from old movies and TV shows. Many of my patients are older and actually remember this kind of phone when it was actually in use. I often tell them about my remembering having a phone that sat on the buffet in our dining room that had no dial ( and of course no push buttons).
You simply picked up the receiver from its cradle and put one end of it to your ear. Immediately, the operator would say, “number please” and you would say the number you wanted into the other end of the receiver. Our phone number was Flanders 2 – 2440. Each locale was represented by a name like “Flanders.” I remember another nearby locale having the name, “Clearbrook.” There were no area codes yet. Shortly after that our phone was replaced with a rotary phone with a dial and we were then able to dial FL 2 – 2440. If you wanted long distance you dialed zero and said, “long distance please” and told the operator the city, state, and phone number you wanted. My older patients remember all this and enjoy talking about it
Next, is the “ice box.” Again, I point out that this was before my time, but not my parents. I grew up calling the refrigerator the “ice box” because that’s what they called it. My Mom grew up in West Philadelphia and her father for many years was an “ice man” with his own ice delivery business. I remember when I was in the Scouts we had an old step van (delivery truck) for camping trips. It was probably from the 1940’s and had an ice box built right into it. Reminiscing in these ways helps promote their own life review and opens up pathways for considering weightier matters like the one suggested by the line, “There are other worlds to sing in.” I talk a lot about what comes next and how our faith connects us to some pretty amazing heavenly realities.”
I have included below a passage of Scripture I like to use in my work because of how wonderfully it helps with exploring these amazing heavenly realties:
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer person is wearing out, yet our inner person is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal …. For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house gives out, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by sight—we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:8
There is so much in this passage that helps assure our hearts that “Heaven” really is next. I find that people relate well to the idea that there are both physical realities (that which is temporal and seen) and spiritual realities (that which is eternal and unseen). Most people are very comfortable with thinking of themselves as having an outer and inner person. Our outer person is our body (temporal and seen) and our inner person is our spirit (eternal and unseen). Our bodies are our earthly house that is slowly wearing out and when the time comes the person we are on the inside will exchange a worn out earthy house for “a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens.” Truly our faith connects us to some amazing heavenly realities.
Once again we see that the workings of faith in God are essential. As a hospice Chaplain I consistently talk about faith in two ways. First, faith is the assurance that God loves us and is with us in Spirit every moment of every day he gives to us and is always helping us get through life in the best way possible as we live in an earthly house that is in the process of wearing out. In whatever we face, God majors on producing in us a great sense of well-being by providing the peace and comfort of his presence. Second, faith is the assurance that in addition to his being with us in Spirit while we are here, we will be with him forever in Heaven someday when he is ready for us and says, “come on home.” These assurances are a great source of peace and comfort for us, but all of this comes to us solely because we have first experienced peace with God through forgiveness in Christ.
The stories I share with the people I visit, allow me to share again and again this two-fold understanding of faith from different angles. Each week I will share them with you and it is my hope that the lessons of faith gained from them will bless your life in special ways.
Posted on Sun, February 25, 2018
by Ken Hart