The iconic television series Downton Abbey, set in early twentieth century England, has much to teach us about the culture wars in America today. And here’s the lesson: remnants of Christian culture collapse with the loss of Christian convictions.
The first day of my sabbatical was the last day of my son's life.
Writing that sentence is still strange. I struggle to believe it's true. But it is. I created my sabbatical plans months in advance. But my plan did not match God's plan.
I don't want to think about the flood of emotions that will bombard me on his birthday. I don't want to envision Kaleigh (10) and Kyra's (6) weddings and try to imagine the glaring absence of Kaleb's presence. Those things - Lord willing - will happen one day. But we don't need grace for sadness fifteen years from now. We need grace for today's.
To develop people who can preach takes time and effort. Like a bad diet is easier than eating healthy, it is easier not to raise up new preachers and just keep a heavy load of preaching. It is the path of less friction. To form a preaching team requires commitment.
Everyone has fears. I'm not talking about encounters with undesirable creatures (spiders, snakes, etc.), but experiences with undesirable realities. It could be losing our job, our spouse filing for divorce, getting cancer, or a child dying. We all have worse case scenarios in our mind that we pray never makes it into our lives.
This verse rings of happiness. I imagine it being recited by a family of smiling faces diving into a big meal. I see a church worship gathering beginning to sing praise songs and someone exhorting them with this verse. I see a man or woman repeating it to themselves as they gleefully walk into the new job they've been wanting . The passage sounds peppy. It feels lighthearted.
I woke up at 4am Saturday after a few hours of off-and-on sleep. My bed is a chair that pulls out into cot just feet behind my son's hospital bed. As I laid there, my thoughts raced. Here is my son, unconscious and unable to respond to us, receiving treatment for fungal meningitis. Is he going to beat this infection?