“Pure Grace” – February 2020: “Seizing the Day”
(“Pure Grace is a monthly reflection from Rev Dr. Scott Arnold, FBCLA)
People remember where they were when bad or good news is heard. When planes struck the Twin Towers on 9/1/2001, I was in a hospital doing pastoral visitation. A common shared grief came upon our nation and the world. When Kobe Bryant and his daughter and others crashed in a helicopter and died on January 26th, 2020, I heard from someone in our church sanctuary here at First Baptist Church of Los Angeles. A common shared grief had come upon many people. Moments like these seem surreal, almost beyond belief. We are reminded that life is fragile and can change in just one moment. One is reminded of the wisdom of “Seizing the Day”. In the movie, “Dead Poet’s Society” the professor (played by Robin Williams) speaks to his students: “If you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? Carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.” Kobe Bryant made his life extraordinary not just in basketball but in the court of life. In fact, beyond his legacy as a player and scorer, being a champion and competitor; Kobe was a dedicated father, husband, mentor and philanthropist. On the day of the crash, that morning he and his daughter Gianna went to their church to partake in worship and communion. The day would begin in prayer and move on toward serving others. Kobe Bryant seized the day and will be remembered for his legacy as a great human being who gave unselfishly to encourage and help many youth and children in developing their potential and self-worth through sports. We should all pray and serve together as God’s people to “seize the day” of ministry that is before us.
God our Heavenly Father and Jesus His Son give us peace in times like this. Even while Jesus’ disciples were with Him in the upper room on the night He would be betrayed, the Lord encouraged them to have faith and seize the moment while He was with them and to believe that we should trust God and Him as Savior:
John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 6 …“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
This time of grieving and shock is a reality check, a coming to terms. People are stunned to think of a hero fallen, a good guy and great father and other parents and their daughters tragically killed. We would like to think that we and our stars are immortal, but the fragility of life hits painfully deep. Jesus speaks to our troubled hearts with words of comfort, hope and promise in God’s eternal love and care. The key to being comforted and at peace, according to Jesus, is to “believe in God; believe also in me.” Faith is the critical need for humanity in Jesus’ day and in modern times. May the peace of Jesus be our source of strength and courage.
~ Pastor Scott T. Arnold.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF LOS ANGELES
~ Senior Pastor: Rev. Dr. Scott T. Arnold ~
760 South Westmoreland Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90005-1499
(213) 384-2151 FAX (213) 382-9669