Monday, March 24, 2014

An Afternoon at the Beach

Lat week I took something of a personal spring break as I traveled to Florida to visit with family for a couple of days.  I enjoyed good time with my Mom, pleasant visits with my brothers and their families, and, of course, some time at the beach.

Walking the beach was something of a trip down memory lane.  I couldn't help but smile as parents tried to keep-up with umbrellas, small children, and toys washed-over by unexpected waves. Memory lane was a bit longer than anticipated as I found myself thinking about my trips up and down the beach searching for shells.

My goal was always to fill the brightly colored pail, or my bathing suit pocket, or my Mom's hands with a collection of colorful, beautiful, perfectly-shaped shells.  To make it into my collection they had to be worthy of an encyclopedia photograph! No imperfections, chipped edges, or faded color made the cut.

This trip, though, I found my attention drawn to a large chunk of a sand dollar and the curved remnant of a conch shell. Like all sea shells, these had already out-lived their usefulness to their original inhabitants before being violently being raked across the reef and dumped on shore. Yet, as I looked them over I saw beauty in brokenness and value in what had been discarded.  Memories help us cherish what once was and give us hope for what yet be.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Full Heart

"I am thanking you, God, from a full heart-" that is how The Message paraphrases Psalm 9:1 and it is my prayer this morning.

Our church's twenty-fifth anniversary celebration was a wonderful weekend of remembering and renewing, worship and fellowship, looking back and looking forward.  For those who served on our Anniversary Committee it was the culmination of over six months of planning and praying- and I think the results far exceeded our hopes and expectations.

Our choir and all those involved in our music ministry honored God and lifted our hearts in worship. I still can't decide on a "favorite" song from the service.  Our worship was enhanced by banners and pictures that acknowledged who we are and celebrated what God "is up to" among us. Each word spoken- from prayers to testimony to readings to sermon- communicated God's message for us both in what was said and who was speaking. Acted symbols speak powerfully.

Not all trips down memory lane are pleasant.  Sharing life- and church- together is always a mixture of hopes and fears, hurts and healing, "what happend's?" and "what-if's?" But as God's family we walk that sometimes bumpy road together and days like yesterday remind us of what God has done, help us to see what God is doing, and give us hope for what God still intends to do.  These days there seem to be many who are ready to give-up on the church... I don't think anyone there yesterday is ready to join them!