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Every May

Pastoral Messages | May 23, 2019

I had the chance to take a city bus around Minneapolis last week. I stepped onto the bus and right away realized that I had no idea where to put my money. The bus driver noticed my confusion. He looked me in the eye and kindly talked me through the process, then wished me a good day as I walked down the aisle. Right behind me was woman, clearly a regular, who was out of breath from running to catch the bus.

“You’re early,” she said, smiling.

The driver responded with kind laughter, “I just couldn’t wait to see you.”

We stopped every few blocks as we meandered through the city. The driver had this amazing ability to intentionally greet everyone we picked up, while still moving quickly through the route. He had just seconds with each person but found a way to connect with a smile or a greeting. And whether it was a businesswoman in a fancy suit or a man carrying all of his belongings in various bags, each passenger went down the aisle with a smile.

I want to be like that bus driver and make the most of whatever time I have with people. Every May, the reality of time’s quick movement strikes me. Young people are celebrating graduations and getting ready for new adventures. Children are wearing pants three inches off the ground, their parents unwilling to buy new ones until the fall. Our family celebrates so many birthdays. Flowers invite me to linger in the Memorial Garden, remembering beloved ones who now rest in God’s eternal care.

Time marches on, with a speed that sometimes feels cruel. Every spring, I’m reminded that we really don’t have a lot of time with the people who are so dear to us. It’s a precious life we’re given, vulnerable and unpredictable, beautiful and complicated, and oh, so very short.

Perhaps we can all live a bit more like that bus driver, making the most of whatever time we have, not just with people who matter most to us, but also with perfect strangers. The Psalmist encourages us to “teach us to number our days, so that we might gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:1, NKJV). Numbering our days teaches us that each moment is a rare treasure. And with this knowledge, we can find ways to connect, even in those mundane things like conversations over cereal, or laughter while waiting for coffee to brew at work, or time on the road.

As I watched that bus driver, I kept thinking about a blessing I heard first in an Episcopal church, from the poet Henri-Frederic Amiel. The blessing offers just the kind of hope and courage we need in these quickly moving days:

Life is short and we have too little time
to gladden the hearts of those with whom we travel.
So, be swift to love and make haste to be kind.

-Sara Olson-Smith

13 Comments on “Every May”

  • Krist Masterson

    May 29, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    What a sweet, sweet article!

  • Ronda Bird

    May 27, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Do you know how many of your pastoral messages I have saved on my phone???? ???? This message is going to be saved too! Thank you!

  • Lisa Meloy

    May 27, 2019 at 1:29 am

    I too have felt the “cruelty” of time’s passage this May because of happy and sad changes in my family, but I am grateful to be reminded that even the insignificant moments in life can be chances to make a difference. That is pretty cool. Love your message, Sarah!

  • Deb Kretschmer

    May 24, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Thank you for this reminder Sara! I need to post this lovely poem on my frig!

  • Kathleen Heaps

    May 24, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Just loosing mom last month, this made me reflect. I made her smile alot. Thanks for the reminder of those precious times.

  • Linda HOEPNER

    May 24, 2019 at 8:19 am

    Thank you Sara, I love this it is such a great reminder! ❤️

  • Anke Maass

    May 23, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    Such a wonderful outlook . Thx

  • Tom Bley

    May 23, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Several years ago Peter gave a sermon about riding in elevators. I now do two things when I get on one…
    Look for the manufacturer ID plate and say hi to the person next to me.
    Sarah,I’m guessing your smile changed someone’s day.

  • Janette Schmidt

    May 23, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Lovely!

  • Suzanne Benson

    May 23, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Thank you so much for these beautiful observations. They settle my worried soul.

  • Marcia Jensen

    May 23, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    I just shared this with my cousin, who was the same kind of bus driver.

  • Katie Arnold

    May 23, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Goosebumps. Thank you for this reminder. Today was the last day of preschool….on to kindergarten. Time really shouldn’t go by so fast, it I can be gut wrenching.

  • Diana Holland

    May 23, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Beautifully stated. Thank you.

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Malachi 3:1-4

The Coming Messenger 3 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.[a] 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Hebrews 2:14-18

14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters[a] in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Luke 2:22-40

Jesus Is Presented in the Temple 22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;[a] this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.[b] 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon[c] came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon[d] took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant[e] in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon[f] blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36 There was also a prophet, Anna[g] the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child[h] to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. The Return to Nazareth 39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.