You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace;
the mountains and the hills will break forth before you;
there'll be shouts of joy, and all the trees of the field
will clap, will clap their hands!
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands,
the trees of the field will clap their hands,
the trees of the field will clap their hands
while you go out with joy.
The congregation sang this song with gusto while I looked out the window, too choked up to sing. I was thinking about my uncle who would be entering hospice care the next morning. I so want the words of Isaiah 55:12 to be true for him. I wish for him to go out of this world with joy and to be led forth into his new life after death with peace. The image of the mountains, hills, and trees clapping and celebrating with him made me smile. I half-listened to the singing around me and knew that when the time came another UM congregation would carry the tunes of praise and celebration for us when we are too overcome by emotion to sing ourselves.
My thoughts were on endings, death, the impossible, and finitude. I don’t remember what made them shift to thoughts of God’s mission to the world and in particular of God’s ministry to my family. Once this conviction came over me, I was able to rest and finally fall asleep last night.
I don’t know what this divine mission entails. I can’t tell you in exact detail what God is up to in our lives. I know what the ending looks like but not what the steps from where we are now to where we are going will be. The ending looks like Christ. Of that much I’m sure. We are being renewed after the image of Christ.