Bishop Palmer: Teach Us to Number Our Days





"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” - Psalm 90:12

Greetings beloved in Christ Jesus:

This week I was gifted with another birthday. I am grateful and humbled that, as an elderly woman in one of my Dad's churches used to say, "God has bid my golden moments to roll on a little while longer." Every time I would see Sister Jordan and I inquired about her well-being, that was consistently her response and, may I add, her testimony. While I am not yet the octogenarian she was when I met her at age 19, Sister Jordan's words have more meaning and currency for me with every passing day and year. Thanks be to God for another year and for every day of life. It's all good. It's all God.

That said, my daily prayer is to live more gratefully and intentionally in a confidence rooted in nothing save the faithfulness of God and in the truth that what we have is now. After all, we have been cautioned more than once by our Lord and Savior of the utter futility of obsessing fearfully and anxiously about the future. I am more convinced than ever that Jesus was not trying to thwart our living hopefully and expectantly. He was, however, in my judgement, inviting us to not miss the fullness of eternity that infuses every moment. It is a reminder to take nothing for granted, especially the future.

A few people along my way had ways of reminding me that tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Each of these three had a phrase they always uttered as we were parting. The first was my maternal grandfather. Whenever he was headed out, especially after a long visit, and I said "I'll see you tomorrow (or whenever)," his response was always, "if the Lord delays his coming." He had a profound inner sense that whatever tomorrows there might be, they were not promised to any of us. A seminary school mate always responded to the "I'll see you..." with "if the Lord says the same."  The wisdom of these two, one a relative and the other a friend, comes to mind more in these days than when I was 12 or 25 or even 50. I am grateful.

I have an acquaintance these days that I see every ten days to two weeks. He bears in his manner and speech a confidence and grace that comes through when we first see each other and when we part company. Both to the query "How are you?" and the parting words "I'll see you..." his response is consistently, "by God's grace." For him, grace says it all. May it be so for me and for all of us.

Your servant in Christ Jesus,



+Gregory V. Palmer