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Our Current Virtual Church Message

Reunion

No one was there. Not one single soul was there. The house was empty. The front door and all the windows were boarded up. The lot was overgrown with weeds and trees. The house looked like it hadn't been taken care of for several decades.

But the reunion invitation said to come to Grandpa's old home place. Where was everyone?

Brushing the leaves, sticks, and debris off the front step, I sat down dejectedly and decided to wait. In a few moments, an old guy stopped at the front gate and wanted to know who I was and what I wanted. I didn't think I knew the old guy but somehow he looked familiar. I told him who I was and why I was there. The old guy said "I'm Jess. Remember me from high school? I was your social studies teacher." I said "Yes. Yes, I do Jess. Sorry I did not recognize you." Jess said, "No problem at all, Ron. Ron, did you get an invite to a reunion?" I was shocked and surprised. "How did you know, Jess." Jess replied, "Well, it happens all the time. I don't know why, or how, or who, but every few weeks, someone shows up looking for a reunion at the old home place or some such. They all have the same invite. They all have the same story. They all want to see family. Sad. Really, really sad." "What do you mean Jess?" I replied. Jess spoke in rather halting terms but eventually he said, "They are all gone. They have all passed on. All of them. All the people you came here to see are not with us any more. Most of them have been gone for years. They were all fine people. I miss them, but they are not here any more. If you think about it, they would all be in their very late nineties or older." I sat there dumbfounded and realized Jess was right. They would all be very, very old folks. Jess spoke and said, "I need to move on. Nice to see you again, Ron." I replied and said, "Nice to see you again, Jess."

How dumb was I? I didn't even think about it. I should have known the invitation was a hoax. But who would do something so cruel? Who would do something so hurtful? My heart burned within me so bad to see the old folks, I didn't even think. As I stood up to leave, I thought I saw them out of the corner of my eye…must have been a shadow or something. Then I looked over at the old oak tree and there was my sister Janice swinging in that swing grandpa put up when we were kids. Janice looked young. She looked like a kid again. Not like she did a few years ago in the casket. Then I heard grandma say, "Want some apple pie, Ron." I knew my emotions were making fun of me so I didn't answer grandma cause I knew she wasn't real. Then she put a plate with a slice of her apple pie in front of my face, I took the plate and a fork, and she said "If you want ice cream on it, you have to come inside." Suddenly everything started to look new. The yard looked like the grass was freshly cut, no weeds, no trees over growing the yard, no debris, everything started to look perfect. I turned toward the front door and the front door was not boarded up any more. I heard a lot of familiar voices inside. I walked to the front door, pulled open the screen, and there they were. All of them were there. It was kind of hard to recognize them because they were all so young. They were younger than I had ever known them in my youth. Grandpa, who looked like he was in his thirties, said, "Glad you could join us, Ron. Grandma has the ice cream in the kitchen." I didn't know what to say. I kept thinking I was dreaming but dreams don't seem this good or this real. I walked back toward the kitchen and in the kitchen mom and grandma were sitting at the kitchen table. Everything was just as it was when I was a little boy except everyone was so much younger. Mom and grandma looked to be about the same age. Grandma said "Sit yourself down and I'll get the ice cream. You love your vanilla ice cream on my apple pie." I sat down, still silent. I didn't know what to say or how to say it. Words failed me. Grandma brought me two scoops of ice cream and dropped them in the center of my piece of apple pie. Everything just seemed so perfect. Then mom spoke up and said, "You are not having a dream Ron, this is a real place. You are being given sort of a preview of things to come if you take care of some things with your oldest son. I didn't get to know him when I was alive but I do know all about him. You need to find him and apologize. You are not aware of it, but you failed him when he was young. He has carried a grudge ever since. You didn't understand him. You wanted him to be like you and to like what you liked. However, he was not like you. You need to go back and show him you have always accepted him, you have always loved him, and you will always carry him in your heart forevermore. When you do these things, you will get another invite. The next invite will be the one where you can stay here with us." Still not speaking, I ate the apple pie and ice cream. Delicious! Like they were made in heaven! The apple pie and ice cream didn't just melt in my mouth, they became a part of me and I became a part of them. Mom said, "Ron, you need to go now but we'll be seeing you again." For some reason I cannot explain, I put the plate and fork down on the table and got up to leave. Suddenly, I was back on the front porch with all the leaves, sticks, and debris. There was no swing in the side yard. Everything was overgrown like before. I turned back toward the front door but it had been boarded up years ago. I walked down the path toward the gate. When I got to the gate, I pulled out my cell phone and called my oldest son. I told him I needed to apologize for a lot of things and asked him if we could get together day after tomorrow. He said "Sure, dad."

Luke 15:18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. (NIV)

Just as fathers must forgive sons, sons must also forgive fathers. We must all seek the forgiveness of God. We must all learn to forgive ourselves.

This article is fiction. The article first appeared in November, 2007, in the Virtual Church web site at http://www.findthepower.com

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Entire contents copyright © 1999 - 2010 by Rev. Patrick Kelly, All rights reserved.
All content is presented on behalf of Shepherd’s Care Ministries. Shepherd's Care Ministries reserves no right or claim upon content.

Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018