I don't know about you, but I like stuff. All kinds of stuff. Just bought, as an example a Martin Backpacker guitar a couple of weeks ago. I have other guitars, but this one is different. It's small. It's easy to play. It's a Martin.
Stuff man. I like stuff.
I think other people like stuff. All kinds of stuff. Monitored a Facebook post that took on a life of it's own as people started weighing in on area eateries, particularly the newer local ones that opened downtown. Lots of passionate arguments for the wine here or the steak there or the mediterranean dip over there.
I don't own a gun but I have friends that talk a lot about guns. And ammo. I thought all bullets are just bullets. I am apparently wrong. Bullets, I have been told, are different. I have heard bullet arguments.
Charlie Dray is partial to flat billed caps. He owns a lot of flat billed caps. I personally think you should never trust a person in a flat billed cap. But he tells me that this is because I'm old. Apparently we only had straw or a big leaf to cover our heads back in the olden days to hear Charlie tell it. Anyhow, he likes flat billed caps.
When my Uncle Dennis comes to town we go to Cabella's or the Bass Pro store up by Toledo. There are at the Bass Pro store a million fishing poles for sale. They apparently all do something different. I could listen to my Uncle Dennis talk all day about fishing poles, because to choose the right pole, you have to know something about fish. He knows a lot about fish, so he knows a lot about poles.
When I've been to your house I've seen your stuff. Buckeye stuff. Commemorative plate stuff. Some of you collect something specific. My mom collects apple stuff. Other people collect pig stuff or puppy stuff. I spent a whole afternoon once walking around Beverly Hills with three doctors who did nothing but look at watches and pens. Watches and pens. Ridiculously expensive watches and pens. Pretty ironic. Doctors. Can't keep a schedule or write legibly to save their lives, and there we were looking at watches and pens.
Maybe you like clothes. Dresses. Socks. Shoes. Or tools. Maybe you dream of a trip to Lowes. Power sanders and socket wrench sets. Cutlerly. Skis and snowboards. Golf clubs. Jewelry. Coins. Quilts. Electronic gizmos.
Stuff. Lots of stuff. People love stuff.
That's probably why the scripture this morning is so jarring. It's a scripture about stuff.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
I don't know about you, but I like stuff. All kinds of stuff. Just bought, as an example a Martin Backpacker guitar a couple of weeks ago. I have other guitars, but this one is different. It's small. It's easy to play. It's a Martin.
Posted by bryan at 11/16/2013
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Saturday, July 06, 2013
Posted by bryan at 7/06/2013
Saturday, May 25, 2013
It's Memorial Day weekend. The practice, who those who don't know, began in the aftermath of the Civil War in the south with something called "Decoration Day". Those who remembered the death of their loved ones in the war began going to cemeteries and decorating the graves of the lost. Over time the practice spread, and eventually it became tradition not just to decorate the graves of soldiers, but to commemorate anyone you loved who has gone to their "great reward".
My uncle, for example, will go to the grave of my grandfather this weekend. My grandfather is a vet. He fought in WWII. Was at the battle of the bulge as a 17 year old kid. But that's not why my Uncle goes. Every year on Memorial Day he leaves a golf ball on the grave. It's a simple tribute, but for a son who spent hours and hours with his Dad on the golf course, it's appropriate. It's a tribute to a great dad.
Tomorrow, in Gettysburg, there will once again be a memorial service at the national cemetery at which President Lincoln spoke so eloquently during it's consecration. Two minutes the Gettysburg Address lasted. Lincoln thought it was a failure and the words would be lost to obscurity.
How many of you had to memorize it when you were in school? I know I did. Probably the most famous two minute speech ever given.
The words are captivating, I think, because the Great Experiment - democracy - of which Lincoln spoke is still not that old. Certainly it's grown since the Civil War, but we need to remember that for the nations of the world at the time, democracy was odd... even threatening. Most of the nations of Europe at the time were still monarchies in one form or another, and they ruled most of the world as colonies. Colonies that had the same say in their governance the American Colonies had with Britain before the Revolutionary War. Democracies were the things of rebels and rabble-rousers. And I'm sure that many at the time wondered whether or not the cost of the Civil War was really worth it.
58,000 men had died at Gettysburg, and many, many others had been wounded at that battle. The townspeople from the area had to bury all the bodies. It was their backs that had dug the graves, and their hands who had cared for the wounded. It was those people who listened to Lincoln's speech that day, and all as the war raged on.
Lincoln's declaration, his address, was that the cost of the battle for the cause at hand was both dear and necessary. So dear and so necessary that it was worth further sacrifice of time, energy, money, and blood. Blood Lincoln himself would ultimately have to shed as part of the cost. And we keep teaching the Gettysburg Address to our children, because in the 150 years since Lincoln uttered those words more time, energy, and money have been spent. More blood has been spilled and more graves have been dug. We don't want our children to forget it, and we want to remind them that maybe, someday, it will be their turn to carry this Grand Experiment forward themselves.
Our nation isn't perfect. Our intentions haven't always been purely nobel. Such is the reality of democracy. It's a human institution practiced by humans. That's why we have elections. If the last bunch did things we didn't agree with, if they turned out to be bums, we vote in a new bunch. It's not perfect, but given the alternatives I think we can all agree that even with all it's flaws, democracy has been, and will be, worth the cost. That's the idea we want to pass down to our children. This idea that has become the way we govern cost something. It's been consecrated with blood. Care for it as a trust, and never forget what has been sacrificed so that you might have the chance, one day, to be entrusted with it's care.
The book of Hebrews is different than the other Epistles. Nobody really knows who wrote it. Authorship wasn't really ascribed to Paul until the 4th century, and while the translators of the King James Bible continue this tradition, it's writing style, grammar, and even subject matter is unlike anything else Paul wrote. Some people think one of Paul's students wrote it. Others have thought it might have been Priscilla, the woman Paul speaks of who raised Timothy to the faith. If, in fact a woman wrote Hebrews, afraid of the scandal of female teaching in a patriarchal world, it was all the more reason scholars speculate the early church buried the authorship. In the end, it might have been Paul, or it might not have been Paul.
But most scholars agree that the purpose of Hebrews was "encouragement". Encouragement to early Christians who were being persecuted, even slaughtered, and beginning to wonder if in the delay of the return of their Messiah, Jesus - which they had been promised was immanent - wasn't a delay, but rather a sign. A sign that he wasn't who others had been saying he was. Hebrews is a letter to people asking the questions, "Is our continued faith in Jesus worth the price?"
Much of Hebrews is a reminder of all of those who have suffered so that the faith could be carried down through the ages to us. Of course the author spends a lot of time talking about the gift of Jesus, the gift of his blood. But the author also speaks of Abel who dies at the hands of his brother because of the sacrifice he makes to the Lord. Of Enoch, the only man we are given account of who God takes without tasting death because of his faithfulness. The author speaks of Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Issac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses. He mentions Rahab, the prostitute at Jericho who risked her life so sneak the spies of Israel into the city. He lists judges like Gideon, kings like David, and prophets like Samuel. People of high and low places who when their moment came, their moment of truth, did what they had to in order to keep the faith alive.
And what a faith it is!
A faith which aspires to the last being first. A faith which ascribes the highest moral order to a person giving up his or her life for their friends, and defining friend as anyone who was created by God. A faith that calls us to serve the least of these, and overcome hatred with love. It's a faith that often puts us at odds with the ways of this world. The way the world is organized and managed and ordered. It's a faith that isn't afraid to speak out to presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens, generals, or dictators. Industrialists, bankers, stock brokers, or venture capitalists. The professional or totally unskilled. The sober and drunk. The wife and her child, and the widow and the orphan. Nobody is exempt from the demands of it. It's a faith which asked:
Do you love what Jesus loves?
Do you love who Jesus loves?
Do you love like Jesus loves?
A faith that aspires to restore what we believe was intended in the first place: a world where we hold one another and all that the Lord has created for us, in trust, with care and responsible stewardship. A world where justice isn't arbitrary, but fixed on something so deep it's at the foundation of everything created. A world where that justice is tempered with mercy, and we judge others slowly remembering we aren't God. A world where God is present. A comforter. A provider.
It is this faith, Hebrews tells us, that has been handed to us by Jesus, but has been intended for all since the beginning of the world. A faith that calls us to struggle against the sin of death and disease. Against those who seek to take advantage and wreak havoc upon others, particularly the innocent and those who can't protect themselves. A world where hearts seek to do the will of Jesus first.
Love. Love. Love.
And so in chapter 12, to those losing heart, losing faith, we are introduced to a new concept. In animistic religions both then and now, people engage in the practice of elder worship. That being the idea that those who have gone before us, now in some form shape our way forward now. Some elders in these traditions are agents on our behalf. Others are out to get us.
Hebrews though gives us another view of those who have gone before us. They are a part of the "great cloud of witnesses" who have already passed down the baton of this great race of faith, who now stand along the course of the race we now run, rooting us on. Figures of hope. Figures who carried the faith of love and grace down to us.
"We made it. So can you. We knew in part, but now we know fully. This reward is yours also. Don't give up. Come join us. Not just as one who is here solely by grace, but as one who helped carry that grace to others."
These are those who have helped carry the faith of love and grace to others. Some you've read about. Some you know. Some handed that grace to you, hand to hand.
I typed out this sermon on a MacBook that belongs to the church. It's a fancy shmancy machine that's probably more computer than I'll ever need. It's one of many laptop computers I've had over the years. Too many for me to remember, really.
But I still remember my first. It was manufactured by a company called Ultra and it had Windows 386 and some version of DOS loaded on it. That's so old that now Windows just uses one number - currently 8 and nobody uses DOS anymore. It had a black and white screen, and it came with one of the first mobile printers. It didn't have an ethernet port or was wifi capable because the internet was something we only heard about in the movie War Games.
(Remember that movie? Matthew Broderick, pre Ferris Bueller, as a teenage hacker who hacked into a defense computer that threatened to blow up the world with nuclear missiles? Kids, that was back during the Cold War and Berlin Wall, both of which you can read about it in your history books.)
It was the first laptop I had ever seen and it cost $3000 back in 1991, which adjusted for inflation is just over $5000 now. $5k for a laptop computer. Can you imagine? And there I was, a snot nosed kid toting around for what was at least a couple of years the only lap top anybody ever saw on the campus of the seminary where I was student. Not even the professors had one.
And all because my grandmother bought it for me. She thought I needed it to be the best seminary student, and eventually the best pastor I could be.
She took her turn carrying grace. Now she's in that great cloud of witnesses.
She's standing there with her grandfather, who - after her father, before his drinking days were up temporarily abandoned his family to life of booze and pool on the road - stepped into her life and brought stability and love. A grandfather so close she called him "Dad". It was he who she called out to on her deathbed earlier this year. The one who helped her know that she was coming home.
He took his turn carrying grace. Now he's in that great cloud of witnesses.
He's standing there with her. He and the drunk, my great-grandfather Po-Po, who came home, started going to this new thing called Alcoholics Anonymous so he could be a father and husband. An old drunk who found grace, and then sponsored countless others to learn how to live responsible lives in the world by following one simple rule: Don't drink.
He took his turn carrying grace. A drunken sinner. Now he's in that great cloud of witnesses.
Helen Dornette, a retired school-teacher, never married, who inherited a large sum money, but never saw fit to spend it. She invested it, plus that which she saved herself, and at the end of her life started giving it away. Some she gave to me in the form of a scholarship that enabled me to carry that insanely expensive lap top around that seminary campus.
She took her turn carrying grace.
There are so many for me... my paternal grandmother. Carol. Sherman and Henrietta. Joe and Weezy Myers. The Hersheys. Helen and Pat Price. Stan and Betty Weller. E Larry Moles. Dr. and Mrs. Flickenger. The Connors and the Reeves. Fred Blosser. So many others....
I'll bet you now some of those faces along the side of the road. Witnesses who carried the faith in grace and love, and helped hand it down to you. Maybe you need a moment, remember, and give thanks.
It is they, these good people, who line the course which ends at the foot of a cross. Cheering you on. Their cause... his cause... is worth the sacrifice. Today, we remember them. Tomorrow, let us finish their work, carrying the faith of grace and love so that one day we too will stand, cheer on those whose day is still yet to come.
Posted by bryan at 5/25/2013
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Have had a few inquires online as to how people can support our Haiti ministry. Thought I'd reproduce the information sheet we gave the congregation this morning that breaks down cost, and give folks some idea what they might want to contribute to and at what amount.
First, let me describe the opportunities:
Victory Christian Church Primary School (K-5) Tuition and Fees
On the average there are about 120 children enrolled at our sister congregation's primary school. There is state provided education in Haiti, but 1) it is not universally available to all children and 2) it very competitive to get into. A child who has the opportunity to get a primary education not only becomes literate (which is good no matter where you live) but has a fighting chance to get into a secondary school where they can continue their education. There have been a number of kids during our association with VCC (led by Pastor Marius and Pastor Maccine) who have been able to make the leap to a secondary education, and some of those to college. The school provides on average about 10-15% of it's own financing (families pay what they can), but without our partnership, the vast majority of children could not afford to be enrolled by the their parents. Education gives a parent, a child, a church, and a community hope. We like being in the "hope business". Here is the breakdown of cost:
Education and fees:
- $0.48 day/ $2.60 week/ $9.60 month/ $86.40 year - PER STUDENT
- $57.50 day/ $288 week/ $1,150 month/ $10,350 - 120 STUDENTS
Victory Christian Church Primary School Lunch Program
For the past ten years, Community UMC has providing a warm lunch to every student three out of every five days of the school week. The lunch usually consists of rice and beans, bread and something to drink. For many children these are the only meals they can count on receiving each week. Led by long-time CommUMC member and a true champion of the children of VCC, Flora DeVoe, this year we are seeking the necessary support to feed all VCC students every school day. The cost includes not only the food, but the cooks who are paid to prepare the meal and properly clean the plates/utensils, and cooking fuel. Here is the breakdown of cost for a daily lunch, all five days of the week:
- $0.36 day/ $1.80 week/ $7.20 month/ $64.80 year - PER STUDENT
- $43.20 day/ $216 week/ $864 month / $7,776 year - 120 STUDENTS
Labrauyer Medical Clinic (Living Hope Mission)
The village of Labruyer is about 20 miles from CapHaitien, but the journey to get there take about 90 minutes. A hub for trade (they have one of the largest rural market days in all of Northern Haiti), Labruyer is a service center for the villages and farms that surround it for miles. The Labrauyer Medical Clinic is a ministry of Labrauyer Christian Church, which has been led by Pastor Doleon since the late 1980's. The clinic, which is was started with Pastor Doleon by a nurse from Nebraska, lost it's primary forms of funding when that nurse retired, and returned to the United States. Now, partnering with our friends, Wilbert and Meg Merzilus of Living Hope Mission, the clinic - which now employs a bright young Haitian physician Dr. Odrigue Norestine - is seeking to re-open the clinic five days a week. The clinic which addresses all issues related to basic health care is held in such high regard that the Haitian Ministry of Health funds a vaccination program for children through LMC to serve the community. Our medical professionals were able to see Dr. Norestine at work, and are all immensely impressed. Here's our proposal of support for the clinic:
LMC Staffing, Overhead and Medication Cost
- Partial Underwrite of One Average Office Visit (including meds): $2.50
- 20 Patients Per One Typical Day: $50/ per week: $250/ per month: $1,000/ $12,000 per year
Living Hope Mission Water Ministry
Our friends at Living Hope Mission are working with many committed servants (including our own Don Knepper) to host teams 6-10 times a year who do nothing but repair broken water well pumps. Nothing improves the health of a community faster or more effectively than clean water. With each pump serving hundreds - sometimes even thousands - of people, a broken pump forces people to walk further to find a source of clean water, or choose instead to pull water out of an area stream or river. With water-born illnesses, like Typhoid and Cholera, still very much a danger in Haiti (particularly to children and elderly) and other water ministries focused on digging new wells, Living Hope Mission has found an opportunity to improve the live of Haitians by repairing existing wells that have been broken. With a goal of $100,000, this new well pump repair ministry will be able to buy containers of well-parts, as well as equipment and transportation, to repair wells all over Northern Haiti. Here's the breakdown of cost:
- Average cost to repair one pump: $250
- Two pumps: $500
- Four pumps: $1000
Pastors in Haiti work hard. Long hours for uncertain pay. You can help us support a pastor and in turn, the continued sharing of Christ's Gospel of love in Haiti by helping a church fund their salary:
Pastor's Salary Partial Underwriting:
- $150 per month
- $1,800 per year
Got all that? Also, you can make an undesignated gift and trust us to use your gift for Haiti wisely. Follow these simple steps to make a one time donation:
1) Review the options listed above.
2) Choose the amount you'd like to donate.
3) Click the "Donate" button above
4) Enter the amount you would like to donate.
5) Send an email to Cathy Dempsey (email@example.com) who does all of our posting, with your name and address (so we can send you a statement - all gifts are tax deductible) detailing how you'd like to direct your donation. If you have no preference, simply just email us your name and address. If you aren't interested also in a statement, don't bother email us if you don't want to.
For a donation that repeats monthly or quarterly, simply call us at 419 991 4806 or email Cathy, and we can make arrangements to send envelopes or arrange e-withdraws.
Community UMC takes no "administrative fees". 100% (after the 2.7% fee PayPal takes) of all directed funds will go directly to the school or mission of your choosing. Undesignated funds not used to meet the needs of the work listed above will be used for things like shipping donated medications, school supplies, customs costs, and other needs which arise only in relation to our Haiti mission work. No funds will be used for Community UMC general fund expenses or other endeavors.
If you don't like the idea of giving PayPal or don't like using e-commerce, feel free to drop off or mail a check to our main office at our Shawnee Campus:
2600 Zurmehly Rd.
Lima OH 45806
Make all checks out to Community UMC, and put in the check memo in what ministry you'd like your donation direction (if you have no preference, enter "Haiti Undesignated"). If you have any questions, feel free to contact the church office via the email address above, or by phone at 419 991 4806 ex.111.
Posted by bryan at 5/19/2013
Saturday, February 02, 2013
(sermon thinking for Sunday... enjoy)
He didn't just say that the church should be open and available to ALL people. He opened the doors of that church to the entire community, standing up to those who would believe that you had to pass some litmus test before you could sit in a pew.
Better to have a good name.
He fails. Notice the difference in 4:1. Before he resists these temptations, Jesus is both filled and led by the Spirit. But after he resists Diablos, verse 14 says he's been empowered by the Spirit. It's one thing, for example, to want to be a police officer. You can even be led to apply for the position and go somewhere to receive training for the job. But it's another thing to be empowered with a badge and gun. Somewhere in that resisting, the Spirit gives Jesus sway, influence, authority over people who before, maybe wouldn't pay him much mind. His name can't be sullied or gossiped about - although it is repeatedly, even by people who should know better - because he lives an authentic life dedicated to the will of his Father.
It's the difference between being led by faith, and being empowered by it, day by day, slowly, with greater authority as we leave a legacy of grace.
And worse yet, what if in getting what we want, we still aren't DIRECTLY satisfied? I'd guess there a lot of people out there carrying around regret over sacrificing their integrity and principles for stuff that in the end, still didn't make them happy.
(Can somebody pull this knife out of my heart?)
Often too, just like satisfying our appetites with things that don't matter or last, too many people wake up one morning after years of devoted to their ambitions still unfulfilled, wondering what they traded all the time, energy and effort for the end.
Finally, I think the last temptation Jesus resists to feed the gossip mill, approval, is particularly interesting. Never at any time in history has it been as easier to collect fans than it is right now. People can become famous for being famous. It you are geek like me, you know that this how ultimately, Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. Each poor choice he makes to grow in power as a means of control, which he justifies as being necessary to protect his family, drives his family from him. I get the sense that more than one person in this world has had their name sullied because their ambition drove them to make choices that in the moment seemed wise, but in retrospect came at a dear, dear price.
Our need for approval, too, can erode how others feel about us, and the clout we have with others to be an effective witness and servant. Maybe at no other time in history are those with an outsized need for approval, for fans, been as easily fulfilled than right now. You can even be famous just for being famous. To attract and collect devoted fans for no other reason than you have other fans.
I watched an interview with one of those famous for being famous people not too long ago. At one time she was everywhere - TV, radio, billboards, websites, social media... you name it. The interview was done in the wake of multiple underperforming projects the celebrity had just launched years now after she had appeared on the scene and done all she could to stay in the public's eye. A TV show had been cancelled. An album hadn't sold. A product launched hadn't been bought. And the interviewer asked this celebrity a simple question, "With so many new celebrities like you coming onto the scene, do you worry that your time has passed?"
The celebrity began to cry, threw a tantrum, and ended the interview.
There is a part of us that is still the little child who begs mom and dad to watch him ride his bike or wants her art project to be put in the place of honor on the front of the refrigerator. I've watched unmet desire for approval destroy marriages, careers, financial portfolios, and generally drive a life spent making poor decisions in the quest for personal affirmation. It's a reason, I think, you see so much bizarre behavior in the world today. People will do just about anything for, and to keep, a fan.
I think that's maybe why we see so many celebrities who get famous ending up really messed up. Either the approval becomes suffocating and overwhelming, or it eventually dies down and is withdrawn altogether. Maybe the only thing worse than not getting approval, is getting it in spades and then have it withdrawn. In any event if we ever craved approval, particularly from someone who mattered a lot to us, and it wasn't received, it can hurt. Deeply.
Solomon in all of his wisdom knew when he wrote that verse in Proverbs that we are built to receive satisfaction, accomplishment, and assurance. These are needs deep within us that have to be fulfilled. But we can't let those needs warp the choices we make. To sell out something more important - summed up by Jesus as loving God and loving our neighbor - than our hunger, need to succeed, or receive applause just so we can feel a moment of temporary peace, will only lead to moments of temporary peace.
I think that's why for so many there's so much power just in the word, "Jesus". Somebody who stopped by my office not long ago talked about how in the aftermath of a family tragedy, in the depths of despair, all they could do was just repeat the word, "Jesus" over and over. Jesus, who was led by the spirit into the wilderness, but after resisting the temptation to give into his appetite, ambition, and need for approval, came out of that wilderness empowered by the spirit (v.14) to accomplish over the next three years, with each teaching, miracle, and in the example of his life, what he said he came to do:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoner
and recovery of sight from the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor (v.18-19)
Jesus, who hungered for the Father and his kingdom, who lived so that the work of that Kingdom would be accomplished, and in the cacophony of voices sought only One from whom he needed approval, was single-minded enough fulfill that promise made. A promise that took staying within the discipline the empowering Spirit demanded from him, and us.
That's how he built his good name. That's why his name continues to live on, and carry weight of authority and power for people.
But here's the problem... it's one thing if the sum total of someone's life, all we know of it, sought to seek the fulfillment of appetite, ambition, and approval from the Lord, first and foremost. It's something totally different if your life has meandered from that purpose... maybe far away from that purpose. To a degree every single one of our names has been sullied... spoiled. We've failed by letting our appetites get the best of us, letting our ambitions - realized or not - get out of control, and our need for approval to drive us to do things that now we regret.
So, if that describes you, now what?
Well, as we prepare for communion this morning, I'd share one last thought on this matter that was shared with me by one of the leaders at a conference I recently attended. As he has been pondering all of this, he's started coming to realization that maybe, in all of his years of ministry, his own insatiable appetites, ambitions, and need for approval might have been drivers in his ministry, as opposed to the leading and calling of the Lord. And as he began to unpack the reality that maybe even the good things he was trying to do came out of a place that was less than Heaven directed, he began to be filled with guilt and shame.
And then, he remembered Jesus', hanging on the cross, uttering the words of the Psalmist:
"My God, my God. Why have you abandoned me?"
Jesus, who lives rightly and out of the right motivations, experiences the sting of an appetite going unfilled. An ambition being extinguished. And probably most devastatingly, approval withheld.
And then this leader at this conference said these words I'll never forget....
"Knowing Jesus did everything right and still felt that terrible sting of rejection upon the cross, crucified the sting of those failures in my life."
Jesus invites us into experience so that it should be with us.
Nothing you have has destroyed God's love for you, or altered the course of history for you or anyone else for that matter, that will deny that same divine love and acceptance from being available and encountered by others. Even if we are a little late to the game of realizing that the only legacy we have is how we've protected our good name, and that by walking with Jesus, doing what he did, loving who he loved, that name is made good, nothing we've done to this point needs to defeat you. In fact, it can be offered to Christ, who can use it for victory.
Just ask this broken man who found mercy in the words of a leader at a conference they both just attended.
And so, this day, I invite you, if there's something that's left a sting. A failure to properly satisfy your appetite, ambition, or need for approval to place it at the feet of Jesus, and let it go. Give it up. Let it drive you deeper into His arms and Kingdom, and away from your despair.
Posted by bryan at 2/02/2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
My grandmother is 86 years old.
86 years of books and letters.
86 years of experiences, good and bad.
86 years of being.
She sleeps a lot now.
It's part of the dementia.
Slowly she is drawing away.
When she awakes I like to sit with her.
I make jokes about commercials with elephants in them.
"You don't need medicine for an elephant. You need a zookeeper."
She asks me to explain what's on the news.
I make up crazy explanations.
"He's really a Martian. That's why Oprah wants to interview him."
Mostly we are quiet.
I give thanks for the time we've had together.
Time talking about politics.
Time talking about religion.
Time talking about our family.
Time listening to learn about my past.
Time spent over ice cream and instant ice tea.
Time spent timelessly.
I did not know how valuable the time I had with her was.
Now.... I do.
If now were then, she'd listen.
She'd offer advice.
She'd ask questions and clarify.
She'd encourage and build up.
She'd tell me to do good and help people.
Through her God would heal.
But now is now.
Now is different.
Time is short.
I am here for her.
Because she "is" and we "are" I am here.
So I sit quietly and wait for my grandmother to awake.
Soon, we will sit together.
I'll will make her laugh.
Mostly we'll be quiet.
That is enough.
Through her God does heal and I give thanks.
Posted by bryan at 1/17/2013