In Uncategorized on July 31, 2005 at 5:21 pm


on wednesday night i had the privilege of attending a wake for leanne’s grandmother. as we stood in the spectacularly clean, softly lit viewing room, i was amazed by how many friends and family members had come to pay their respects, say a prayer and speak a kind word to leanne’s family. there were so many people there that the funeral directors had removed a divider to accommodate more people. apparently, even that did not provide enough space for the visitors for people were scattered throughout the entire building, laughing and sharing, embracing and consoling one another. i was incredibly moved by the experience, for it was a living illustration of the beauty of a large, loving, deeply committed extended family.

though a bastard, God blessed me with the same type of family. i have had the privilege of being raised not only by my parents, but by two sets of grandparents and three sets of aunts and uncles. moreover, i don’t have eight cousins so much as i have eight friends who i grew up fighting with, loving and protecting. i have also been blessed with a number of close family friends who i would not hesitate to lay my life down for and have little doubt that they would do the same for me. have i mentioned that i have a brother who i love so much that it hurts? have i mentioned that i grew up in a church that was full of people that believed in me when i did not believe in myself, loved me when i was by all accounts unlovable and pointed me towards my vocation when i was totally ignorant of God’s call?

so on wednesday night, while i stood in that clean room that was lit by the love and warmth of family that I was reminded of the sacrifice that i have made. because the God of blessing has called me to be an instrument of His blessing to all people, i have left the warm, centrifugal center of my family and have been flung out to this far corner of the country to shed God’s grace and Christ’s compassion upon these people and the world. i am glad that i have responded to God’s call, but i am not unaware of the cost.

i am not unaware of the cost. because i have sacrificed so much to be in new england, i better make my life count. initially, this line of reflection led me to focus on the desire to make a name for myself and adorn myself with individual accomplishments. but that is not what God is calling me to. instead, he is calling me to make my life count by being a part of a redemptive community that is incarnating His love and extending his compassion to the people in this particular place. at the end of my life i do not want to be known for something i have accomplished, but i want to be known as a part of the redemptive community that God has created in this place. life does not consist in the abundance of riches, Jesus teaches us, and i don’t think life consists of lists of individual accomplishments either. rather, i think life is characterized by the goodness, beauty and truth of God that has been planted within us and the beautiful harvest of the field in which we have been planted.

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