Every once in a while there are days or weeks were it is quite noticeable to us to that their is a change in our lives. We all go through changes in our day to day lives. However, what I am speaking of right now is that sequence of moments that literally changes us. This Holy Week has thus far been one of those weeks for me.
Palm Sunday marked the first time in a long time, I was able to sit back and watch the people closest in my life serve God in their own unique ways. It is not that they don’t do it at other times. It just so happens I am right serving him leading the way. Very rarely do I get to sit back and observe my family serve their Lord with the gifts they have been blessed. Linda for first time since we moved to Saint Louis, MO sang with Faith Worship Team for three services. Linda is a vocalist on campus for one of the chapel worship teams. However, this is a little different in my eyes. When we moved for this next step in our lives, Linda literally took a step back from singing in church. Some of it had to do with schedules, life adjustments, and quite possibly culture shock. Needless to say, my heart jumped for joy watching her using her God given gift of music again.
On top of Linda singing, for the 9:15 a.m. service Hannah, Jonathan, Hailey, and Jocelyn ALL participated and sang as part of Faith’s Kidnection which included children in the grades ranging from preschool to sixth grade. For those of you who have multiple children, this may hit home a bit more for you. You will understand the struggles of getting multiple children to stand still and smiling for pictures. Many times it can be harder for young children to stand up, even amongst their peers, in front of a congregation to sing. i am here to report that no one cried, whined, or had an down right meltdown. All stood up there dressed in their Sunday best. They opened their mouths and sang to God. As I stood in the back, I fought back the tears like any proud father, it occurred to me to take a picture of all the children. Little moments like this help to wipe away all the doubts of effective parenting. With Linda up front, it meant for once I was all by myself in the midst of the church with the children. Another one of those things that has not happen since before we moved here.
Holy Monday brought a wonderful chapel service, but it was the Tenebrae service in the chapel that left a lasting effect. Four seminarians and Dean Burresson read the Gospel lesson, Matthew 26:1-27:66. For some reason the way each part was broken up conveyed a new understanding of the text. It is a different realization of just reading the text or hearing someone else read it from the lectern. The betrayal, disappointment, denial, suffering, and death all meant so much more. I found myself re-reading this text a few more times after returning home. It is no secret, that I enjoy hearing my fellow seminarians preach. On Monday, 4th year seminarian delivered a very soul convicting and thought provoking sermon. I have been in a couple of classes with Sam throughout the year. He is one of those guys where you always know where you stand in his eyes. His sermon was much of the same approach. His sermon cut straight to the core of the matter.
Holy Wednesday (today) yield a chapel service patterned after the chief service for Good Friday. Dr. Bode preached, but I think the earlier readings, kneeling, and prayers took my mine elsewhere. Mine has lingered on the Good Friday sermon I have been preparing for a few weeks now. Something cleared up my mind locking in the missing part of the sermon for me. Not to worry, my mind was not on something else for long. I managed to link back into his message. I will just say there has been more reflection than in years past throughout Lent. Maybe it is the upcoming Call Day, baby births, weddings, or graduations that has caused the reflection. I know all the instruction I have received thus far, the praying, and the studying have and will continue to have a lasting effect… Yes, I know that is what “formation” is all about… Knowing it and realizing it is happening to you when it is happening to you are two different things.
I know all to well that God continues to take care of my family and I in every way. I have watched personally how he works in the lives of friends and family, both here at seminary and back home. I read scriptures, only to be left in awe in chesed/hesed (steadfast love) God has for us. What is next? The rest of Holy Week. Pray for me as I deliver my first Good Friday message. I am pretty excited to see how God will use me on Friday. I wonder how I will be formed next? Who am I fooling? I am pretty excited to see what He has prepared for me next!
How can I end this post without a countdown to Call Day and Vicarage Service: 13 Days, 18 Hours, 29 minutes, 30 seconds