Eighteen Lives and Eternal Life

We lost our pet cat, Dasher, last year. Dasher was with us eighteen years! He was remarkably resilient. The old saying that cats have nine lives proved very true for Dasher. He likely had double the nine lives with his eighteen-year journey as a part of the McVay family. Dasher survived the era of blown-down fences following hurricanes. The times of being assumed “lost forever” only always to make his way back home.

To add to Dasher’s legend of exceeding his nine lives, he was blind for half his life. His blindness did not stop him, as he navigated learning three different homes and yards. Dasher also survived the daily perils of climbing fences and falling countless times. One time DASHER even survived a SPLASH into the Santa Rosa Sound. Karen just happened to see him stumble off the sea wall into the water and rescued him! As the saying goes, Dasher fell plenty but always seemed to land on his feet!

Landing on your feet is a great metaphor for life. We all fall, but the question is will we land on our feet and get up again? We are not spared trouble and trials, but with God’s help, we can develop this indispensable quality of resilience. I know a church with such resilience. It is Shalimar United Methodist Church!

In the last few years, we have been a church that has navigated through a couple of trials. We have endured a year of inner conflict two years back. In our division, God gave us the grace to come together again and land on our feet. On the heels of our year of conflict, a world pandemic came. We then experienced isolation coupled with unknown and unexpected challenges for our congregation. After this crazy year, our congregation is once again, by God’s grace, landing on our feet!

Landing on our feet again seems to be placing a spring into our steps! What a joy it is to see the smiling faces again. Faces we have not seen in over a year! How good it is to hear robust laughter on our campus! And again, have baptisms and new faces of visitors each Sunday! How fun it is to see our returning church members acting like kids in a “candy shop” when they come back for the first time in a long time! Landing on our feet and the joy of returning is an exciting sight to behold!

Shalimar UMC is a resilient church for many good reasons! I will be lifting these up in the coming weeks! We also celebrate 70 years of ministry this year! Shalimar UMC has a remarkable history, an emerging vitality in the present, and a bright future!

As we move through these exceptional days, let us keep our eyes on the Lord! The book of Lamentations has a good word for us following our challenging last two years! “The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). The Church has more than the nine lives of a cat but rather something much better! We have the message of the risen Christ to endear us together and endure hardships. We have more than nine lives. We have ETERNAL LIFE IN JESUS! We are an Easter People! We fall and worship a God of resurrection!


Philip McVay

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