There was a man standing on the corner of the street last week with a sign that said, ‘God loves you.’ — I am sure it is theologically incorrect in some way, but I was so glad for the reminder. Afterward, I sat in the Kroger parking lot listening to Kathleen Battle sing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ on my cellphone, while the sky turned every imaginable shade of sunset color. Ruben drove me around in the car for a long time that evening, chasing the dying light.

The next day, I wrote a dear friend about how someday those rainbow colors would never die: I would see them forever in the heaven of seeing my Saviour. She wrote me back about how her children had saved all their money to give their pastor a special present, and how the joy on his face was one of those small things that make it worthwhile to be here, while we are.

I found out that another dear friend passed away this week. I have not known many losses in my life; and this one has been particularly painful. For I keep thinking of how many opportunities I lost to make those small gestures of love which are like a sign that says ‘God loves you’. This friend was especially thoughtful about those gestures. He doesn’t need such a sign now; but it would have been a comfort to me to have stood on one of the corners of his life, holding it more often. For that is one of the comforts we have while we are here.

In the face of death we know more than at other times how harsh life can be. My friend of the special pastoral present says that we wrap ourselves up in love, like a blanket. Some days our calling seems very inconsequential. Our calling is only washing dishes, dusting, clearing clutter, making beds – dealing with sick children, running load after load of laundry, making 99 trips to the grocery store. But we are weaving a blanket with all these things to wrap around our loved ones: a blanket they will always be able to hug tighter around themselves the colder it grows. We are standing on a corner of their life they will always remember, holding a sign that says ‘God loves you’. We are making a rainbow for them out of the light of an earthly hour, so that even though this is only Kansas, they will know a little bit of what it is like to go home.