• soar, run, walk

    by  • February 20, 2006 • Uncategorized • 4 Comments

    First, once again, I want to pass along the places where passion lives:

    IMOM.org, which helps pay veterinary bills for folks who can’t and its community bulletin board. Thanks again to all who continue to share what matters most to you.

    Yesterday afternoon we took my in-laws and friends into Boston. We ended up at JP Licks, the world’s best ice cream place in Jamaica Plain, a very eclectic neighborhood of the city. As we were settling into our table, I couldn’t help but notice the seven or eight folks at the table next to us who were engrossed in a very intentional discussion. At one end sat a woman with her laptop computer open; the title on the screen read, “Fostering Hope.” About twenty minutes later, as their meeting began to break up, I stopped one of the people and explained what I had seen on the screen and asked if would mind telling me about their discussion. He was happy to oblige.

    It seems the group was from Hope Church in Jamaica Plain, a UCC church start that is doing wonderful things. The woman with the computer was a South African national who was dreaming out loud about trying to do something to speak to the tragic plight of AIDS orphans in her home country — as many as a million of them — and believing that a few people could get together over coffee and make a difference somehow.

    The lectionary passage Ginger preached from yesterday was Mark 2:1-12, the story of the four friends who lowered their paralyzed friend through the roof so Jesus could heal him. Part of what she talked about was the initiative and the imagination of the friends: they had to come up with a plan beyond their good intentions. Next thing you know, the house had a new skylight and their friend was in front of Jesus. He couldn’t have gotten there on his own.

    The story works as metaphor whether we are talking about helping our friends next door or the orphans in South Africa. I wonder how many nights they had sat with their friend saying things like, “Man, I wish there was something I could do,” as they helped him do his daily tasks. Their commitment to their friend helped create the opportunity. They didn’t give up.

    I preached yesterday as well. My sermon was a week delayed, thanks to the blizzard; my passage was Isaiah 40:21-31: “They that wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint.” I stayed with the sermon because I felt our congregation needed a strong pastoral word. When I got to church yesterday, I found out it was the anniversary of the death of one of our most beloved church members who died with cancer a year ago. Another member had planned a solo I didn’t know about. Turns out she sang “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.”

    When it came my turn, here is part of what I said:

    Those who wait on the Lord — interesting choice of words.

    We don’t wait on God like we wait for a bus, or even like a kid waits for Christmas. Isaiah is talking about patience that grows with trust, with faith, who look to the stars and all of creation for reminders that the Creator of Everything knows us by name also and does not leave us alone. When we wait on the Lord,

    sometimes we soar over;
    sometimes we run through;
    sometimes we walk in.

    Among the folks who will sit in this room today are those who had friends and family members die and the wounds of grief are still fresh; some have loved ones overseas fighting in wars; some are dealing with cancer and other diseases which offer an uncertain future; some lived in fractured families; some carry bitterness towards one another and find it hard to forgive, or ask for forgiveness; some have been through painful court cases; some are struggling to keep their marriages; some would be here but are no longer able to leave their homes; some are dealing with aging parents; some are dealing with struggling teenagers; some don’t know what to do with their lives; some are dealing with overwhelming debt; some are unemployed and desperately in need of work; some wake up and go to jobs they hate everyday because they feel trapped; some are tired and cannot find rest; some are depressed and doing well to even get out of bed; some are lonely; some are sad; some feel broken.

    Sometimes we soar over;
    sometimes we run through;
    sometimes we walk in.

    Sometimes we crawl.

    The hymn on the insert is one of my favorites, particularly for the first verse:

    Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish;
    Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
    Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish —
    Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

    Do we not know? Have we not heard? The everlasting God — our God — does not grow weary or tired. God gives strength to the weary and increases power to those who lack. Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not faint.

    Sometimes we soar over;
    sometimes we run through;
    sometimes we walk in.

    In all things, we are together in Jesus’ name and in God’s hands.

    The connection between the two passages, for me, centers around persistence. I am overwhelmed by the neneighborhoodigborhood, much less the world. I can’t even carry the people who live around me to Jesus, much less the AIDS orphans. And so I have to learn to wait on God, to trust that somehow I will find new strength — we all will — to soar, run, or walk and be changed in the process. On “The Writer’s Almanac,” Garrison Keillor quoted Robert Altman, who said, “To play it safe is not to play.” The four friends tore up someone’s roof without thinking about paying for it; they just knew that was how to get their friend some help. All five of them were healed in the encounter with Jesus.

    And so may it happen to me.

    Peace,
    Milton

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    Blogging since December 2005

    http://donteatalone.com

    4 Responses to soar, run, walk

    1. apstraight
      February 20, 2006 at 7:32 pm

      Oh- I love that hymn- it was one of our choir standards in seminary- Thank you-

    2. February 21, 2006 at 6:17 pm

      “And so I have to learn to wait on God, to trust that somehow I will find new strength — we all will — to soar, run, or walk and be changed in the process.”

      Amen to that.

    3. Fen
      February 21, 2006 at 8:04 pm

      Good stuff. I’m sure you connected with everyone in that congregation at some level. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

    4. KW
      February 22, 2006 at 10:25 pm

      Oswald Chambers says today (2/22):

      “Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen. …[It is] a call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will never be defeated.”

      I love your blog.

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