By Jane Fink
(sister-in-law to Mary Jentzen and Jim Fink)

I watched a saint approach the waiting arms of Jesus on Saturday. Karl’s last maternal relative – Eileen.

Her life had not been easy but I had never seen her turn away from God, had never heard a harsh word for anybody or to anybody, never had a conversation with her that did not include the name of Jesus.

She was born and lived all her life in Gaines, Michigan and traveled only occasionally to Florida. Her “mission field” was Gaines where she worked as school secretary for years and always held some position or other in Gaines Methodist church.

I never heard her wonder why God had given her such a tiny mission field in which to do His will or chafe against the ties that kept her home-bound in a dying town.

She lay in her Hospice bed with the laughter and animated talk of children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and friends drifting down on her. She kept her eyes closed – her face was smooth and beautiful with a smile of deep peace on it. She always “dressed up” for my visits and I teased her about not wearing her earrings and matching necklace. Once she opened her eyes and as we talked to her she smiled and said, “Great.”

As I looked at her, I saw her moving closer to Jesus, yet still loving each of us – standing between two great loves – a life lived for Him and a life to be lived in Him – this one an eternal one with no more heartbreak. I wondered if she could already see the parents she loved, all her older brothers and sisters that adored their baby sister, her beloved son Jack gone ahead of her to heaven at an early age, her daughter, Char and of course Charlie – was he already telling her jokes…

I felt deeply moved to have known Eileen who loved me as soon as she met me when I was 22. And I felt deeply moved as I witnessed her leave behind a life so well lived for God to become a new creation living with Him.

I share this with you today because Jesus rode into town last Sunday, His feet almost touching the ground because His mount was small and humble. It was a good parade… the Hosannas were loud and heartfelt.

Only He knew the parade route and the Valley of the shadow of Death He would ride through. Only He knew of the darkest moment when for the first and only time His Father would turn away from Him because he willingly wore a mantel of my sin.

He also knew the Victory. He knew that, having died so that I would not, He was promising me a mantel of Glory in place of the tattered one He took from my shoulders and laid upon His.

Again, I can only fall on my face and whisper “Such Grace, such Mercy, such Love… for me? Thank you, Lord… I accept.”

Don’t allow anything to distract you this week from remembering what Jesus has done for you. Grab it again, squeeze it and squish it; let it explode all over you.

Wear a face of His Grace and His beauty; and in deepest peace relive His victory – Only our Lord has put Death to death, that we might live in this world and in the next.