Chapter 17: Choices of the Heart
P231: Jesus gently relieved him of his burden and together they went to the shop where he had been working.
As Mack walked around the box he immediately recognized the etchings in the wood. On closer examination he discovered that details of Missy’s life were carved into the wood.
Q: What do you think of the imagery here? Where does the author draw it from? In what ways have we experienced Jesus as being our burden-carrier?
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
P232: Mack turned and hugged Jesus, and as they embraced, Jesus whispered into his ear, “Missy helped; she picked out what she wanted on it.”
Sarayu stepped forward. “I,” she said with a flourish and bow, “am honored to sing Missy’s song, which she wrote just for this occasion.”
Q: What do you think of the notions that Missy prepared her own funeral? How would that have helped Mack? Can we help our loved ones by doing the same? What arrangements would you like to see organized at your own funeral?
Psalm 96:1 Sing to the LORD a new song ; sing to the LORD, all the earth.
P233 Come kiss me wind and take my breath
Till you and I are one
And we will dance among the tombs
Until all death is gone.
When the task was complete, Sarayu reached within her clothing and withdrew her small, fragile bottle. From it she poured out a few drops of the precious collection into her hand and began to carefully scatter Mack’s tears onto the rich black soil under which Missy’s body slept.
Q: What were your impressions of Missy’s song? Why do you think Sarayu sang it? How do you feel about the Holy Spirit scattering Mack’s tears over Missy’s grave? What is the purpose of tears?
Psalm 126:5 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.
Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
John 11:35 Jesus wept .
P234 Sarayu then, in her whispery breeze-blown way, turned and smiled at Mack, who had been watching transfixed. “It is a tree of life, Mack, growing in the garden of your heart.”
Papa – “You can remain with us and continue to grow and learn, or you can return to your other home, to Nan and to your children and friends. Either way, we promise to be always be with you; although this way is a little more overt and obvious.”
Q: What do you think about the choice that Papa gave to Mack? How would you have responded? Do we also feel that God is always with us?
Matt 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
2 Corinthians 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
2 Timothy 4:22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
P235 Papa to Mack about Missy Although she would love to be with you today, she lives where there is no impatience. She does not mind waiting.
Mack Let me ask you something. Is what I do back home important? Does it matter?
Sarayu Mack, if anything matters, then everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important. Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, my purposes are accomplished and nothing will ever be the same again.
Mack And I really believe that you will never leave me or abandon me, so I am not afraid to go back. Well, maybe a little.
Q: Does everything matter? How could an act of forgiveness change the universe? How do our acts of grace, generosity, and love influence the world?
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
P236 Kate believes that she is to blame for Missy’s death.
Mack to Jesus Can you keep it for me? All my best treasures are now hidden in you anyway. I want you to be my life.
“I am,” came the clear and true voice of assurance.
Q: How does Mack respond to Christ’s statement about Katie? Why does Mack give his treasures to Jesus? How can we also be assured that Christ is our life?
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
P237 Mack God the servant…it is more truly God, my servant.
Ha hadn’t had a chance to say good-bye, but as he thought about it, saying good-bye to God seemed a little silly. It made him smile.
He was back in the real world. Then he smiled to himself. It was more likely he was back in the un-real world.
Q: What do you think of God being our servant? Does this diminish God’s authority? What is the real world – this one or the next? Why?
John 13:12-17 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
P238 Lost in thought, Mack simply pulled through the intersection when the light turned green. He never even saw the other driver run the opposing red light. There was only a brilliant flash of light and then nothing, except silence and inky blackness.
Q: How did you respond to this incident? Was it totally unanticipated?