Monday, November 29, 2010

Looking Back.

Genesis 19:26 tells us Lot's wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. Many other places in the Bible, though, tell us we are to remember. To tell yesterday's stories to our children and grandchildren. Deuteronomy 4 is all about remembering who God is and how God has been with us, and telling those stories to the kids.

Tonight the rain is coming down outside and I am looking back. I didn't intend to look back. I came into the office tonight to sort through files. (One of the things I try to do is leave a sparkling clean set of files for whoever follows me.) So I have been sorting...tossing...keeping... writing notes on files that need to be re-labeled.

I keep finding things. A wonderful Advent hymn a friend found on the United Methodist web site years ago. I look at the hymn and the words are a gift.

There is a file on The Green Room. Some of you may remember that TUMC got creative as we tried to reach out to young adults, and Trinity opened up a coffee shop in downtown Elkhart. As a place where young adults -and people of all ages- could gather. The coffee was good, the food was just fine, and the music was cool...but we closed it after a few years.

Fifteen years ago Trinity had three Sunday morning worship services. All were wonderful and all were essentially the same. We weren't reaching a new generation. So one of the files I came across is all about the creation of a "Contemporary Worship Task Force." Our leaders were putting that together as early as January of 1997. There are song lists. Some of them would embarrass us now, I suppose. And I remember that week after week, long after the "Celebration!" service was begun (bet you had forgotten that name!), our staff got headaches as we worked through the "bugs" in our primitive sound/projection system. We wanted our worship to glorify God and we wanted it to be excellent in every way...and some weeks it was!

There are names, too. Names of people I married. Names of friends, of saints, like June and John and Helen, whose funeral services I was privileged to lead. People whose faith and love and sense of humor and generosity has marked me forever.

So tonight I am looking back. And I don't feel salty at all. I feel blessed...thankful...gifted.

The words to that Advent hymn by a Jesus follower named Kilgore? They are in part these: I am here in the stars, in the dark of the night. I am always within you, and I am the light. I am who I am, sings the God of my soul. In your waiting and home I am making you whole.

Sometimes stopping and looking back is a very, very good thing, you know?


Christina to you, Mama to three said...

This is beautiful. I know we don't know each other, but God has a way of uniting people. :) God Bless

Ophelia said...

Thank you for this beautiful reading, which has left a little mark in me. As you say, looking back, haha and not turning "salty", sorting through your things does leave some impact, however small, in our lives. I wish you all the very best in your endeavours. I am from Malaysia and through blogspire, we have, literally, managed to close the wide gap of distance. God bless.

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Nicole said...

It sounds like you are in a time of transition. How wonderful it is to celebrate the little things God has done for us each day. May God bless you as you continue to walk hand in hand with him.


Donna said...

I loved this post. You have a wonderful perspective, and I could hear the rain falling as you wrote. Beautiful. I, too, have been looking back this Advent season. My Dad has vascular dementia and I am losing him pieces at a time. I've been pouring over old photos, making collages of memories for him, and me. Looking back and remembering has been a healing exercise for me. I wish you many blessings for your future. I do not know you, but your writing blessed me this cold and wintery Oklahoma morning. Thank you.

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debbiemys said...

I am so thrilled to find your blog and to find out more about you. You are going to be the new pastor at my home-town church. Although I no longer live in Bloomington, my Mother does and still is a member of First United Methodist Church.
I read some of your writings to her and she is so hopeful. Although she has been a member for 50 yrs or so, she had fallen away from the church, because she wasn't getting fed God's word. She would come to church and just get frustrated, so over time she has not been faithful in attending. I can tell from your writings that you are just what we have been praying for.
So, I just wanted to let you know that at least one of your new members is hungering for basic gospel messages, and you seem to be just what the "doctor ordered". Best wishes in your new mission. And know that we are praying for your success in feeding a congregation who we think is starving for HIS light and love.
I look forward to meeting you sometime when I am in town over a weekend.
Debbie M.

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Aishah said...

Hello, I enjoyed reading your posts (I read three). And I am glad I came into your blog after quite a surf;)

Karin said...

From your post it seems to me that you are leaving a pastorate, but will continue to have a heart for ministry wherever the Lord sends you! Just found your blog by clicking 'next blog'! God bless! You haven't posted for a couple of months, but maybe you'll be back. We have 2 sons-in-love who 'left a pastorate' to become teachers instead, using their ministry and teaching gifts there!

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