Updated: Sep 4
What a week it has been, if not a month of Sundays. By the latter, I mean 30 days of meaningful though quite diverse situations.
Labor Day weekends are always special with family and friends, a time when my wife is at her max in sharing her gift of hospitality. My job is to get the yard in good shape, put up tables and cook the burgers.
The last few years we have enjoyed our vacation home and with that has come additional neighbors, beyond those now precious after 26 years in our small subdivision back home.
New neighbors mean expanded conversations and relationships. For me, the intrigue of meeting new "pieces of God," with unique life stories and with varied degrees of life challenges.
As well, a clear and quite delineated spectrum of generational and cultural perspectives. This past month has been quite active on all those fronts. My hospital chaplancy moments, one young man in full recovery post coma, another his wife now widowed.
Breakfast meetings, prayer room duties and even interventions with a new and now ailing neighbor seemed to have placed me back in pastoral mode, which frankly I enjoy as much as LaDonna loves her hospitality moments.
Pardon my stream of consciousness writings but I just returned from walking the dog, which is next to mowing in terms of thought generation and mental processing.
I have had some moments of deep reflection over these last thirty days. All this driven by conversations that reveal the work of the Spirit in amazingly diverse ways, with people of great means to those in poverty; some highly academic in their thought processes, fully tech proficient in their search for answers, and others, crushed by life, with little spiritual grounding.
One friend, a nearly abandoned alcoholic and now quite physically weakened soul, simply broke my heart recently. I had asked him to hug my body close so that I could right his position in a urine soaked recliner.
Once I had gotten him repositioned in his recliner, he asked if I would pray over him. I layed my head upon his and wept while I prayed given his words. You have to understand that his words are often abusive and laden with vulgarity. This time he mumbled, "You made me cry, I like crying." Then, "Jesus help me!"
He'll never read this and it is highly unlikely my readers will ever meet him, so I am not uncomfortable sharing. My heart aches for both, those crushed by life as well as those religiously reared by academics, both so loved and precious to God.
This morning as I walked Coach, awakened by his paw-nails clicking on the hard surface of the floor, alerting me to his need to go outside, I began pondering how different the world was than when I was a child.
Spiritual insights back then were sought out from those who daily poured over the scriptures, prayed through their burdens and ministered a quite similar Good News, with minimal doctrinal and denomination departure, at least in my well-churched world.
Today is a different story. The belief system in America is multicultural, no longer necessarily "Bible-based" even if Christian; now more oftened accessed on line than from church; framed by words tweeked by humans, though more and more likely originating from artificial intelligence via ChaptGPT, rather than from men and women considered the oracles of God.
Things are changing, culture has shifted and those with a sensitivity to the spirit, beyond just an academic faith are rare birds.
Who knows where this world is going, but I am intrigued with the ride, though my exit ramp is now closer than ever! Perhaps one day, this and other thoughts captured will be sufficient to cause my grandchildren to inquire of the G-d behind the life of their mystical Poppi!
When they do, I am believing the Spirit will do a new thing in them, "for I know in whom I believed, and am persuaded that God is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
2 Timothy 1:2.