A strange day today was. I woke up, showered and prayed in the shower for God to show me what he was doing and how I could be a part of it. Then I put on my clothes and left for the La Sierra Coffee/Deli stop in downtown Dover.
I have been going into La Sierra for the last few mornings because it is right next to a bus stop where lots of people stop in for coffee on their way to work. The funny thing is that most of the people speak Spanish and I don’t. But today was a first…I was able to enter into a small conversation with the woman serving me my coffee. She is from Columbia and is trying to learn English but admits it is difficult. While I spoke enough Spanish to tell her that I did not speak her language well, I also told her that I wanted to learn Spanish but found it difficult as well. God, may your will be done in this woman’s life as well as my life.
I sat down to sip my coffee, read another chapter from Barbara Brown Taylor’s An Altar in the World, and then read from my Bible to hear a word from God. One verse that comes to mind from today’s reading – “He asked you for life, and you gave it to him…” (Ps. 21.4, NIV).
Then I finished setting up my office at the church building while the cable-man installed a new phone and internet service…I managed to embarrass myself in front of him by falling down the last three steps of the stair…fortunately I was not hurt but I should really learn to pay more attention to where I am walking, especially on stairs.
The first of two reports of bad-news came. A friend of mine whom I had not seen in several years passed away at the age of 35 from a brief battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). He leaves behind a wife and two children. Why God? Would you at least grant his family, especially his wife and two children, comfort? They need it!
Before I share with you the other bad news, let me share with you the evening. My daughter and I accompanied one of the ladies at our church to another area congregation, the Morristown Church of Christ, where they were having a revival. This is an African-American congregation and not that race matters on iota but when you are white and have mostly attended all your life worship gatherings shaped by a white culture, it is a different and very lively experience. But most importantly, the Christians at the Morristown Church of Christ were hospitable, loving, and full of faith, and I was reminded from Ezekiel 37 that God can bring dry bones back to life.
I came home and took the garbage out and then sat down to check the email (surprise, surprise). Sad news. Delphine, an elderly Christian lady whom I visited regularly when I minister with the Kandiyohi Church of Christ in Minnesota, passed away. Delphine had been in the hospital on life support the last two weeks after a heart attack. Here is part of an email response I sent to another Christian lady in at the Kandiyohi congregation who helped look after Delphine:
“Tonite, [Delphine’s] body is finally at rest. That is sad for those of us who have known her and loved her. But Delphine is victorious in Jesus Christ and she awaits the day of our Lord’s second-coming, when she will rise again and along with us who also believe and all the others – past, present, and future – who believe will be joined together again in God’s victorious conclusion to his plan of salvation that has been made known to us in Jesus Christ and promised to us with the seal of the Holy Spirit.”
That is one day spent trying to pursue God in life and mission…a day of good news and bad news, a day of both excitement and the mundane…and yet God is here.