Spring is a beautiful time in New England. Right now we have rhododendrons climbing up the corner of our house. There are also irises just coming into bloom. Add to that the hibiscus my husband bought me and two gorgeous lupine plants that I received for Motherʼs Day, and I could go on and on. I love the flowers and plants as they show off the colors our God painted them.

One of the favorite things that I have always loved about our yard was a beautiful Japanese Maple tree. It had suffered over the last couple of years with Gypsy Moths and drought conditions. And this year and last it did not leaf out. We had the tree company do deep root fertilization twice and held our breaths, but the bark began to peel off and we knew it was gone. So yesterday we had it taken down. And as beautiful as the other plants are, the tree will be missed. I remember my grandchildren climbing in it and swinging from itʼs branches. I remember its vivid red leaves and its beautiful snow covered branches. I asked myself if itʼs okay to grieve over losing a tree. Somehow I think it is. At least the loss is real to me.

I think about losses in the church. Much more significant than a tree. I think of David Gray often. I miss his presence as he often visited with us in the office. I miss having him in Bible Study. He had much to add, filling us in on historical background. I miss Shirley Donaldson with her kind, sweet spirit and perpetually positive outlook. I miss Dottie Burke whose Memorial Service was last Saturday, and her enjoyment of her friends at church. Additionally, people join us in worship and then move away. We get to know and love them, and then they are gone. We miss them.

I think this just points out the importance of each member of the body of Christ. No one is insignificant. We are all joined together as the church of Jesus Christ. And not just the people who are living now. We join with others who have proclaimed the name of Jesus through the ages. May we continue to serve him as long as we can. Then we must trust the job to those who will come after us, the ones we are teaching now. For as CS Lewis said in Screwtape Letters, we are a part of the church of Jesus Christ marching through the ages.

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