Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Moving On

An Inkling
Ever known a divorcee who couldn’t move on?  You hear his ranting about how ridiculous his ex and former in-laws are, and how their latest antics are just another example of blah, blah, blah.  Given the raw feelings surrounding divorce, such rants are understandable – for a while.
But after a while most people realize themselves, or are instructed by their friends, that ranting is no longer helpful, and that it’s time to move on.  That means not paying such close attention to the dysfunction that made one crazy in the first place, and certainly not running on about it.
Last week our ECO-Ex had their family reunion in Detroit.  (For those of you new to our story, in 2013 St. Giles was released from the PCUSA to join a new denomination, the ECO.)  I’ve seen lots of venting and snarking on line about their doings.  And I have to confess that the anger resonated with me.  Some lingering wounds in my own heart make it all too easy to join in the scorn.
But it’s time to move on.  As we do, we welcome God’s forgiveness to move from being a commitment in the head to a freedom in the heart.  And that’s essential for moving fully into his next season for us.
We just celebrated the one-year anniversary of St. Giles’ marriage to ECO.  I can truly say it is wonderful – far beyond what I had ever hoped.  That in itself makes it easier to move on.  Even so, it takes some discipline to drop the old combative habits. 
Let’s help each other with that by laying aside our own venting and snarking.  It will make us all the more ready to welcome others in the healthiest ways to our happy new union.  And it will make our prayers and support more authentic for our friends who are still a part of our former church family.
Lord have mercy…
On us all,


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Happy Pairings of the Kingdom

An Inkling
I was amazed at the response.  On Father’s Day afternoon I posted this picture on Facebook of dad and me serving communion together that morning.  Immediately scores of people responded and commented.  Something touched their hearts.
It wasn’t just the age difference.  We have people serving communion together all the time who are that far apart in age or more, and no one notices.  I think it was simply the relationship, a father and son ministering Christ’s grace together.
Another such pairing in this role is common to our eyes:  husbands and wives serve together all the time.  I’m old enough to remember when that was a head-turner.  Because women had been excluded from that role, it was exciting to see them serving, and then to see couples serving.  Wow – what a wonderful image of redeemed relationships, one of the countless blessings of Christ’s grace at work.  But now that pairing is so familiar that we hardly notice. 
And we’ve seen another remarkable pairing in our midst.  Gratefully our eyes are also now accustomed to seeing racial divisions bridged in these serving roles.  That, too, was a head-turner at first, and is now fittingly normal.  In a world where divisions come all too easily, the very normalcy of this pairing is its own remarkable sign of how life works in the Kingdom.
For three generations our family’s patterns of mobile job pursuit have mostly separated us from living near each other and being in the same congregation.  So this gift of being in church with my parents again is one I would never have expected just a few years ago.  But it’s a happy gift, and I’m grateful that the Lord can use it here and there to show how the breadth of his redemption also reaches across the generations in a family.
Now if I can just find a pair of UVA and Virginia Tech grads who are willing to stand next to each other…
Here’s to dad,


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

All Eight and More

An Inkling
By my count eight generations were represented at the Davis family reunion picnic last Saturday, but only three came to the table when summoned.  We set up tables and chairs in the shade of the Catalpa tree in the old family cemetery, and enjoyed a feast and the leisurely telling of family stories, both recent and past.
Richard was surprised to realize that he’s now the Patriarch of the clan, but he readily offered our prayer.  At the younger end of the spectrum Jack, Hilton, and Susan hardly knew what to make of the moment – a picnic among stones that were described to them as graves of their great, great, etc grandparents.  They clearly didn’t yet have a grid for processing such information.
Sarah’s mom (the Davis side of the family) died when Sarah was just ten.  So just as she was getting old enough to ask family questions her primary source was gone.  But across the years, through cousins and other kinfolks, through genealogical work and visits to places like this Mount Valley family cemetery, we’ve learned a lot. 
And we’re still learning.  For example, this time we learned that a Confederate gun emplacement had been on the property, guarding a ford in the Rapidan River.  We also got to look 65 feet down the antebellum well, still flowing with plentiful water.
Many in the Davis clan were members of the Disciples Church just up the road.  In the sweet bye and bye it will be great fun to know them, and to learn about their lives with the Lord.
I trust that we’ll also get to know those whose graves were undoubtedly nearby, but unmarked, who had served as slaves in the Davis clan.  Their life stories will surely be fascinating, and their lives with the Lord even more so.
It’s one thing to repeat with the Creed, “I believe in the Communion of Saints…”  It’s another to explore the nearer reaches of that Communion in our own family.
On Saturday we glimpsed what we’ll know in full in the heavenly Kingdom.  And what a joy it will be when all eight generations (and more!) actually come when summoned to the table, along with the One at its head.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Do You Have Another After?

An Inkling
Do you have any “afters” left?
We all have some “before and after” stories to tell – turning points that brought a marked difference in our lives with the Lord.  Sometimes the before and after is dramatic, as with some people’s conversion stories.  But dramatic or not, the fact that we think in terms of before and after means that there is a marked difference.
And my question for you today is, do you have any “afters” left?
For me I have no before and after conversion story, for I just grew up believing.  But I can tell a before and after story about being filled with the Spirit, or about being shaped by Dallas Willard’s teaching, and so on.
How about you?  What are the “before and afters” in your life with the Lord?  Perhaps it was your season with a particular fellowship, or a mission trip, or mentor relationship.  If asked to account for who we are as followers of Jesus, we would all describe several before and after events.
Same question:  do you have any “afters” left?
We tend not to think in those terms.  If pressed, of course we would say that God is not finished with us yet.  But how about a marked before and after?  Does he have any more of those for us?
And more to the point – would you welcome it if he did?  Another after would mean life is different.  Would you welcome that?
If so, then look carefully.  I bet that you can see an emerging before and after outline right now.  How might you lean forward into that next after the Lord is bringing?