#changetheconversation

I just came in from my morning walk.

My devotions led me to this.

We got back from our most recent trip to Haiti about eight hours ago. I, and three very humble, gifted, generous, funny, faithful friends had a full day of travel and retrospection. As is true after pretty much every trip the conversations kept steering to what could we do to “fix Haiti.” We didn’t use those words but that is the bottom line.

There are many responses rolling in your mind right now.

“Heal thyself” might well be one of them.

I digress.

By “fix” we are pretty much skipping over some of the greater truth to chase an economic solution.

Economic change is greatly needed there.

That’s exactly the thing we cannot fix.

To dwell on that is to come to a level of frustration that leads to spiritual stagnation that leads to defeat.

There is a line in a Book I read fairly regularly that says “the One who began a good work in you will see it to completion…”

We aren’t called to finish the job. We don’t even have a good grasp of what the beautiful result should look like. We are simply called to be participants in the project.

If we lose sight of this we also lose sight of something very sweet.

The good work is exactly that.

We can’t fix Haiti (or Anderson for that matter) but there are over 600 children going to school through the work that was begun in us. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti (or Washington for that matter) but there is a young woman with new clothes going to college. New clothes and college weren’t even an option, not even a dream. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti (or even change one hair on my head) but there is a very bright young man who is back in classical (secondary) school who’d dropped out because he didn’t have the $250 for the annual tuition. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti but I also can’t get the image out of my head of several people leaving our outdoor woodworking area with chairs, tables, stools, and HUGE smiles. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti but there is a freshly painted building with new pews to sit on where people gather to praise and draw strength and find hope in a place where these things are as essential as air and food. That means something.

I can’t fix Haiti but I can believe in a Friend who is in the process of doing that very thing - and fixing me in the process.

I got to the church building here in Rogersville about 11 last night. I checked my messages and mail. There was a note from a sweet lady who had a serious injury and several surgeries last year. She had no money for food - or for Christmas gifts for her children. You gave generously to her. The note she sent included the words “you have no idea how much that meant to us.”

She’s right.

As our Friend and I were winding up a fairly brief stroll this morning I felt compelled to confess the part of my life that wants to see everything fixed. He smiled at me the way he does and said…

“I prefer to look at the fixers.”

Your move.

Brother Pat

#changetheconversation

I just came in from my morning walk.

My devotions led me to this.

I got this lovely photo yesterday via a text message.

And the Holy Spirit.

I’m guessing you clearly see the lovely portion and will overlook the other.

There are no words to describe what a sweet day that was.

The congregation I have been honored to serve for so long is exceptionally child tolerant.

Another way of saying that is “Christlike.”

It isn’t uncommon at all for a toddler to wander up to the chancel and join me in worship leadership.

But sometimes the parents are a bit stressed. They have been “churched” to think their children are distracting instead of attracting.

How did we manage to screw up so badly?

I digress.

As I remember the day, Hannah Cate’s Mom was dealing with a child who was getting on the fussy side of tired. My “preacher vision” sensed a departure from the sanctuary might be imminent.

As I was holding forth I strolled over to give Mackenzie a break. Doing the Pops thing is one of my greatest joys.

I turned HC to face the people, rested her weight on my arm, swayed a bit, and finished the sermon.

I turned her to face out so folks could enjoy her beauty - and hoping they would catch her attention and distract her for a few.

She conked out.

It was no doubt the calming effect of being in my arms.

Or the stultifying effect of my sermon.

I digress.

All that to say that I have been pondering this photo the last 24 hours.

Hannah Cate was one of four generations of her family in the worship service that day.

From generation to generation thinking enters this conversation.

Theirs and ours.

I know we are supposed to challenge and inspire and equip and convict.

Or at least that’s what I have been told.

But in a world where we are pretty much all on the fussy side of tired there are times, and places, that call for the accepting, loving, strong arms of a Friend.

And the peace to take a nap.

Eh?

As our Friend and I walked among the morning songs of the birds on a lovely late Spring morning we were talking about babies and emotionally exhausted folks and the pressure to keep going. He smiled at me the way he does and said…

“I napped in a rowboat in a thunderstorm.”

Your move.

Brother Pat

Posted 8 weeks ago