Sunday, March 24, 2013

What's new

A friend mentioned that my blog has been dark lately, and he wondered how I was doing. James, this one's for you.

First, the news: my father's two remaining brothers died recently -- Harry, approaching 95, on 2/21; when Gilbert (97 next month) heard the news, he took a turn for the worse and succumbed 3/7, exactly two weeks later. My dad is the youngest to survive to adulthood; he has just one sister left.

The illness and death afforded opportunities to have conversations about things we don't often discuss. Though I felt somehow inadequate several times in these past days, I'm glad I spent the time with my family.

Being with my father, and remembering my uncles in recent years, made me think about what I hope for in my future decades. I do not hope to be taking 30-mile bike rides at age 90, and I imagine much more of my memory will have left me by then; I do not expect to have a lot of brilliant insights. But I do hope I'm more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, generous, gentle and so on. I hope I can be a man of blessing.

Some good things have been happening through fellowship. Carol and I are in a small group that more or less uses the sermon study guides. Recently we talked about Colossians 3 and the concept of doing everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. What a challenge! Carol hurts my feelings so I ignore her for a while -- in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? I don't think so.

In a men's small group I'm in, we were talking about 2 Corinthians 12:9f. What is our weak spot? the book asked. We had to think about this, but the concept of doing everything (every detail of our lives) in the name of the Lord Jesus -- that made it quite clear that we have a number of weak spots. Or blots.

Last week we shared dinner with a couple who were so happy that they found our church. Like many of us, they had attended churches where questions were not welcomed, so the thoughtful, respectful, open approach that we take to our faith at MPPC was, and is, very refreshing to them, and it's brought greater engagement in learning, spiritual transformation, discipleship.

We are very grateful for our Sunday morning fellowship group, "Side by Side," which has been in some ways like an extended family to us. It's a community where we encourage each other—stimulate each other to love and good deeds, as the author of Hebrews tells us.

As we approach Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, I remember some past Easters, and one Easter morning in particular, now over 30 years ago, when I marveled at the idea that someone could love me enough to die in my place, to pay the penalty for my sins (or to pay a ransom to set me free), so that I might have eternal life. It seemed a wonderful thought, but it was unbelievable to me.

But a voice from the empty tomb thundered to me over a nearly 2000-year period, "Believe it!"

And so on Easter Sunday morning I will join with my brothers and sisters worldwide in proclaiming, "He is risen indeed!"

1 comment:

James Benton said...

Thanks for the update Collin.