Our family has been grieving the loss of my sister-in-law to cancer. Tara was only 36. Along with my brother, she leaves behind two children, aged eight and six. I didn’t know how—or even if—I could write a story about her.
But instead of telling a sad story about what we’ll miss, I thought it better to share the lessons she unknowingly taught through her life.
I’m going to watch the eclipse. I won’t try to capture it on film or on my phone because I want to enjoy the rarity of the moment for what it is. This will not happen again in my hometown in my lifetime, and I don’t want to see it through my camera. (I’m just praying it doesn’t rain!)
I will stop and pause for the eclipse. But this makes me wonder: Why don’t I do this more often? Am I as attuned as I should be to the glories that surround me all the time?
My left knee disobeys my youthful ambitions to thoughtlessly play again. It mournfully reminds me whenever I momentarily forget–jumping rope with the little girls in Honduras, crouching down again and again to examine lower bookshelves at Barnes & Noble, sleeping on it the wrong way–”Hey, man: you’re broken.”
The Bible isn’t always an easy book to teach to kids. Although there are so many great stories to share, there are also many that need to be handled very delicately. Jacob’s family situation, David and Bathsheba, and a number of Jesus’ parables and miracles come to mind… And then there’s the climax of His earthly ministry, the entire reason He came to earth as a baby and lived a perfect human life: His death, resurrection, and ascension.
Let’s face it: this is a heavy topic for kids. But it is so important for them to understand and rejoice in. Why? Three reasons.
Mrs. Spencer sits in her pew, the same one she sits in every week, and takes out her Bible. She knows the time will come when the pastor will announce today’s text. Until then, she waits. The “Welcome” does not really apply to her because the young pastor wants to make the guests feel welcomed. She’s been there over fifty years, so she’s as about as welcomed as she could be. Mrs. Spencer barely knows any songs, but she sings anyway. The drummer drums too loud, at least for her taste, and the worship team doesn’t help as they direct with their hands like the old music minister used to do. The pastor preaches longer than Mrs. Spencer remembers the former pastor preaching, but she follows him along in her trustworthy large print KJV. After the service ends, young children fill the halls. The seasoned church veteran can hardly walk with out tripping over a rogue toddler, but there’s a peculiar glory in it all…this is the church, the bride of Christ, and every Sunday is warfare.
Racism should not be only brought up at moments such as we witnessed in Charlottesville this past weekend. The evil of racism is a biblical theme—a sin the gospel reveals and heals—so we should be teaching about it routinely in the course of regular preaching. Which brings me to a final point.
A favorite guest post from the archives:
It’s easy to be taken off guard by Carl. Sheila gives you cues. She’ll move closer, lower her voice conspiratorially, and begin, “I love Sasha, but…” And that’s when you know it’s coming. But Carl gives you no such preparatory warnings. In a firm and perfectly audible voice, he can casually defame another’s character (or gossip, if you will).