“Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” The author of 1 John invites us to put our love into action—to love with our lives. Love is a commandment: “love one another, just as [Jesus] has commanded us.” If we follow this commandment to love, then we are in communion with God: “All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.”
Last summer, Charles Moore, a retired Methodist minister, nearly 80 years old, parked in a strip mall in his hometown of Grand Saline, Texas, pulled out a gas can from his trunk, drenched his clothes with gasoline, knelt down, and lit a match. He died in flames.
Last year I took a class to determine my Enneagram number. I’m an old hand at Myers-Briggs, with its 16 types, but this nine-number circle with all sorts of arrows going back and forth was a new system for me. Thankfully the teacher, Suzanne Stabile, had a teaching style I understood well. It turns out we are the same type.
Some of us reside in the heart (or feeling) triad, as Suzanne and I do, and some in the head (or thinking) triad. My guess is Thomas would belong in the third triad.
When my mother died early on a spring evening in 1993, the ladies of the garden club and the bridge club gathered around my family to stand sentinel over the old-fashioned ritual of paying calls on the bereaved.
I’ve only seen three dead bodies in my life. The first was when I was 12 years old and my grandfather died at age 69. It was the first time I ever saw my father cry. At the funeral home, my sister was brave enough to reach out and touch my grandfather’s hand as it rested on his torso. Back in our seats, I asked her what his skin felt like. “Plastic,” she said.