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“Teach Your Children Well.” Happy Father’s Day!

Just as a good, caring parent

cares for their entire family,

so does God care for us.

(— Psalm 103:13, RDSV)

“Teach your children well.” — an old Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song

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He Was Empowered

He needed help.

He had been up front of the church, wearing a white robe and stooped over with both age and miles. He needed help getting up and down from his seat. When it was time for him to make his way to the pulpit, things got precarious, even as he leaned on the host pastor’s arm.

But THEN he was in place at the pulpit, and it was as if the lights had suddenly come on in the sanctuary. Or maybe the room itself went electric.

[Note: Friend, colleague, and unappointed mentor, The Rev. Dr. R. Paul Sims, died Sunday, June 3rd. His service was Monday, June 11, and it was a powerful combination of liturgical correctness and, well, we had church. Several elements of from that time bear repeating here. For example:]

Suddenly Rev. John R. Curtis, Jr. no longer seemed enfeebled!

In a voice both authoritative and compassionate, he prefaced his reading of Jeremiah 29:11-13 by saying, “Listen carefully now to these words.”

We did.

Then before reading Psalm 37:4,5 he invited us to “Hear these precious words from the Book of Psalms.”

And we did. I noticed my eyes developing leaks as he read, “Take delight in the Lord, and God will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in God.”

Then he looked at us a third time and said, “For your hearing, and your doing: the Word of God.”

I was ready to jump up and yell Amen.

For real.

 

 

New to Me: “The Lights of Home”

Friend, colleague, and unappointed mentor, The Rev. Dr. R. Paul Sims, died Sunday, June 3rd.

His service was Monday, June 11. It was a powerful combination of liturgical correctness and, well, we had church.

Rev. Carroll W. Lewis concluded his homiy with the lyrics to a hymn that was new to me. It was written by Fanny Crosby in 1899, but see if it doesn’t speak to you today like it does to me —

O the friends that now are waiting,
In the cloudless realms of day,
Who are calling me to follow
Where their steps have led the way;
They have laid aside their armor,
And their earthly course is run;
They have kept the faith with patience
And their crown of life is won.

Chorus: They are calling, gently calling,
Sweetly calling me to come,
And I’m looking through the shadows
For the blessèd lights of home.

They have laid aside their armor
For the robe of spotless white;
And with Jesus they are walking
Where the river sparkles bright.
We have labored here together,
We have labored side by side,
Just a little while before me
They have crossed the rolling tide.

Chorus

On those dear familiar faces
There will be no trace of care;
Every sigh was hushed forever
At the palace gate so fair.
I shall see them, I shall know them,
I shall hear their song of love,
And we’ll all sing hallelujah
In our Father’s house above.

Chorus

Dresden Then, Us Now

Bishop William Boyd Grove is a friend in real life. (Have me tell you sometime about a week of breakfasts with him before I had a clue who he was…hoooboy…..)

Yesterday he wrote this, and it’s with his expressed gracious permission that I share it with you here and now —

IN MY PRAYERS THIS MORNING, I reflected on the crying children and desperate grieving parents, being separated from each other by our government as Americans, without noticing, go about their day.

I remembered the early days of the Third Reich as Hitler’s agents rounded up Jews and dissenters and shipped them off to Dachau and Buchenwald, while German people went about their daily lives without noticing.

In 1986 a German Methodist stood with us in the street in Dresden, and suddenly broke into tears as he remembered. He said to us through his tears, “We are so ashamed!”

Who will weep thirty years from now as this brutality by our government is remembered?

Lord have mercy! Christ have mercy! Lord have mercy!

Start Here

This came in some package from someplace (yeah, we get a lot of ’em, probably the same as you).

It’s a strip of paper that’s like 3 inches wide and about 3 feet long.

Other than the words Start Here and the two arrows, it was completely blank.

I’ve been given these kinds of directions several times in real life. They seemed clear but were in fact not at all helpful.

By contrast, Psalm 119:91

How can a young person choose the right path?
By following your word.

— and —

I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.

Who in your life helps you do that?

Start there.

 

 

What an Offer!

Life abundantly.

Life in all its fullness.

More and better life than you can imagine.

That’s what our Lord offers and promises us in three English translations of John 10:10b.

Sounds way beyond pretty good to me, how about you?

So what are you doing today to live into that kind of life in Christ?

Know Anybody Who Needs One?

In case we missed it at Christmas, or have forgotten since then: Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11)

Know anybody that needs a Savior?

So do I.

In fact, I saw one in my mirror while brushing my teeth this morning.

In even more pointed fact, All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) That seems to say that we did sin, and we continue to miss the target of holiness.

But wait, there’s more!

The very next verse says, All are justified freely by God’s grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:24)

Again: know anybody that needs a Savior?

Hear the good news of the Gospel: Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.