Monday, September 5, 2016

Now It Begins

September 5, 2016

Summer is officially over. Labor Day has come and almost gone; the remnants of the last summer picnic are scattered across the lawn, the tables are down, the lawn chairs put away, the parents of young children have long since headed home to put their progeny in bed early. School looms. Little Gemma is excited to be going to preschool, but the others are bemoaning the end of the long, lazy days of summer and the early mornings that await them for the next nine months. I contend that something is drastically wrong with an educational system that in two short years can transform a child's natural curiosity and love of learning into dread and apprehension. A wise preacher once said that it is a sin to bore people with the Word of God. The same can be said of our educational system.

It's been a good summer for us. Lots of outdoors projects got scratched off the list, and the few remaining ones will bite the dust soon. I've sensed a renewal and readjustment of direction and purpose that I anticipate will give form and substance to my life for some time to come. I'm slowly settling into this reality of no longer having the responsibility for leading Park church; instead, I'm discovering what it means to be in a supportive role, which can be somewhat awkward at times, even though it is a good place for me to be.

I'm developing a new appreciation for lay Christians. When I was pastoring, my spiritual care was part of the job description. If I let things slide, everything would begin to unravel. The job both demanded, and provided the opportunity for Bible study, prayer, ancillary Christian reading, and works of charitable nature. I think at times I took for granted the spirituality of my people, not realizing how difficult it can be to attend to spiritual disciplines while juggling family, job, and a host of other responsibilities. If growth in discipleship was slow, part of it was due to literally not having the time to pursue God. Our modern American culture has us pushing and busy all the time, and swimming against that stream is like trying to navigate up the Niagara River in a canoe. Bucking that tide is a daunting task, and tomorrow it all begins in earnest once more.

So I pray for our young families, for the parents who are trying to raise their children to love Jesus in a world that values everything else. I pray for the kids who are trying to live faithfully in a world much more hostile to our faith than the world I faced as a teenager. And I pray for our pastor who is trying to lead faithfully his people to be faithful. And I am thankful to have been released from much of that pressure. May I be faithful to help those still in the grind to see and follow Jesus who sees them in love.

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