Over the past year – or so – different people have suggested that something I could do – in retirement or before – was to put into book form – or something similar – some of the stories and memories I have shared during my years of ministry. This is an activity I am seriously considering, though “retirement life” will need to slow down considerably if this is to happen. If, though, I were to start on the project today, the title I would give it would be “Heavenly Pours”.
Taking a Break
Is there such a thing as “taking a break” when all you were doing in the first place was nothing? Perhaps that is something like a retired person – who is basically on vacation all the time – taking a vacation. Well, how does this sound? I, a retired person, earlier this week took a little break to get ready for a vacation! And I am glad I did.
Plagiarism is no more appropriate for pastors in their sermons (or emails of spiritual encouragement) than for college students submitting papers to their professors. Thus, on a morning like this when I wish to get a word of encouragement out but have been too busy to write something original, it is important that I let you know the author of what you will find below. Last week’s Thursday’s Thirst carried something I wrote. This week’s is a devotion written by my cousin, Tim Hetzner.
I am in the midst of painting the main living areas in our condo: scaffolding and ladders, ups and downs, bending and lifting, brushing and rolling, moving and cleaning … the whole nine yards day after day. Thus, I really do not have the time nor the energy to write anything. However, since this project gives me the precious opportunity to reflect upon the wonders of our creation and redemption, I will simply share with you part of something I started writing years ago. I call it “Basic Questions of Life and Faith.”
Doubters No More
This past Sunday the sermon at the church I attended started with some audience-response questions. The pastor said, “I will say a word and then you respond with the opposite.” Then he said, “Heavy” and we all said, “Light.” He said, “Morning” and we said, “Night.” After a few more times where we were all in sync he said, “Believe” and I (and a few others) said, “Doubt”. Then, just as I was catching myself in my mistake, he called us out on it. The opposite of believe is not doubt, but rather unbelief (or non-belief).
It is just starting to settle into my mind how busy I must have been for the past +40 years … and how good it feels to be wasting time with the realization that those old deadlines and responsibilities will not catch up to me because of it. Vacations in the past, while providing needed time of refreshment and relaxation, also always included time for preparing and planning (not to mention the interruptions). Now when I get up in the morning the first pressure question of the day is, “What day is this?”
The Tigers looked dead in their opener … and I’m not just talking about the first game, but the entire series. Many were lamenting – perhaps myself included – that this year was going to be worse than the previous, even though those three games covered only the first 1.7% of the season. They looked like the same old, lame kittens … striking out way too often, sloppy in the field, with pitchers hesitant to throw meaningful strikes. I think Tampa Bay outscored them by something like 20 runs over the three games, and the Tigers never had a lead. Talk about a dead opening!
If my math is correct, today is Season Opener #123 for the Detroit Tigers. Our son, Joel, and I, though we are members of the “elite” 1901 Society, will not be there … because the Tigers’ Season Opener this year is in Tampa Bay. One might say that we planned our return from Florida a week or two early. However, one week from today is the Home Opener … and the plan is that I will be there with our other son, Matthew.
This past Sunday, on the way out of worship, a visitor said to me, “There sure is a lot of love in this place.” My reply was something like, “Yes, there certainly is.” I could have gone on to say, “And my, how great it is to see it being sent in so many different directions by so many different people.” By the end of the day, my description of it would be “overwhelming.”
Yesterday … and Tomorrow
“Yesterday” (the song) was released by the Beatles in 1965. While today I am thinking about many “yesterdays”, I am not really singing the lyrics to this song. “Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they’re here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday,” is what McCartney wrote as the beginning of the song. Rather than focusing upon regrets (thankfully “his grace is sufficient for me” too – not just St. Paul), I am more thinking about the blessings of yesterday – while at the same time anticipating the additional new ones that tomorrow will bring.