#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.

Shabat Shalom

It’s a deep theology kind of morning.

Or a time to lighten up.

You pick.

I am seldom lost for words.

The words may well be nonsensical, sometimes ill used, quite frequently mispronounced, but I can usually find a few.

Howsomever there are those times I could use some help.

One skill I haven’t acquired is knowing what to say when one of my much loved charges shows me the photos from…

Their colonoscopy.

You know who you are.

In my decades of hospital visiting this experience comes around with surprising frequency.

I suppose it is a sign of the intimate relationship between a pastor and the parishioners.

But I still don’t know what to say.

“I would recognize you anywhere” has come to mind but it doesn’t seem especially helpful.

“The colors are vibrant” would be truth - but maybe misleading.

“Are you going to frame this one?” has been used but one must know the patient well before going there.

So I usually mumble a few words about the marvels of technology and the skills of physicians.

Except for that one time I asked “could I get a copy?”

Feel free to make suggestions.

I have to polish my sermon.

As our Friend and I walked with thunder rumbling and lightning marching ever closer I was telling him about a recent hospital visit. He smiled at me the way he does and said…

“The things they don’t teach in seminary.”

Your move.

Brother Pat

Posted 3 weeks ago