Positive Update from Sunday

As many of you experienced or have subsequently heard about, we had a bit more excitement last Sunday during the second service than usual: Crossing member Gary Long collapsed during Shay’s sermon, prompting several medical professionals in attendance to provide timely treatment before he was eventually taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Thankfully, we’re able to pass along a positive update. Shay was able to visit Gary yesterday and reports that he’s doing well and is set to come home soon. Along with expressing thanks toward all those involved, Gary also demonstrated his sense of humor remains intact, quipping that he had done his part to get applause going during the sermon. 

Looking back on the situation, there is certainly much for which we can be thankful. Gary was in a place where there were a number of trained medical personnel already present. They in turn acted swiftly to give him the needed emergency assistance. In addition, everyone in the congregation remained calm and supportive during a tense time. I suspect the corporate prayer Shay led wasn’t the only one lifted up on Gary’s behalf.  

Ultimately of course, God was merciful toward Gary and The Crossing, even to the point of providing a few reminders that we all can use:

1. Death, or in this case its shadow, far from being a “part of life” as is so often said, is a foreign intruder in God’s good creation.  It was not meant to be, but came only as the tragic result of sin. That’s why we as human beings are rightly sobered and grieved in its presence. To the point: Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus, despite the fact that he was about to restore his friend to life.

2. Of course, the gospel gives us hope even in the face of this stark reality.  Jesus has conquered sin and death: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). Therefore, Paul can say that followers of Christ don’t “grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13). Instead, he issues this ringing affirmation: “‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

3. Finally, our days are in the Lord’s hands, and we need to think and live accordingly. Here, as in everything else, God is the Sovereign King. 

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