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Southern born, Southern reared. It's a quirky place and we are unique folk... These are my people and these are my stories.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Power of One Word

I attended the Wellspring service in Winter Park last night. For a few minutes, earlier in the evening, I'd thought not to go. I'd had a long day. Fatigue wrapped itself around me. Not so much tired. Fatigued.

But, I thought, this is the season of Advent. What better time to go than Advent?

The chapel of First United Methodist Church in Winter Park,
FL where the Wellspring services take place each
So I went. I drove along the brick streets of Winter Park, enjoying the Christmas lights as my radio played holiday tunes. I parked. I went inside the chapel at the First Methodist Church of WP. I spent time with Jan Richardson and her husband, Garrison Doles, helping them to light the candles. I conversed with my new friend, Steve, whose last name I don't know ... not because I never asked, but because it doesn't matter. I see Steve only once a month and--it is in knowing his first name and in the breaking of bread together that we are connected. The name of Christ holds us together as brother and sister. And, I find that amazing. Amazing enough to not ask his last name.

I know so few of the people who gather at Wellspring by name. Yet, we are brothers and sisters by The Name above all names. Additional amazement.

Our responsive reading came from Isaiah 60. Left side goes first. Right side follows. The right side always seems to me to be the loudest.

I sit on the left. Near the front. So I can see.

Jan instructed us to "reflect" on what we'd just read. As I did, I circled with my purple-inked pen the word "then" in ...

Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice. 


I jotted these notes in the margin:

One day.
Not today, perhaps, for night's shadows have fallen already.
Only then.
Maybe tomorrow.

During this season when heaven and earth meet in thin places, as Jan so poetically puts it, what are you waiting on? Or, waiting for? What must take place before the then can occur?

And, as you wait, will you trust the One who came? Will you wait for His perfect timing? His perfect "then"?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Paper Memories

Funny how memories come.

Yesterday evening, I watched one of my favorite "classics," The Andy Griffith Show. In this episode, Andy gets the mail, which includes a magazine for Opie.

Probably Boy's Life, I thought.

Then I remembered the excitement each month when I received my American Girl magazine. And Mother's when she received McCall's and Good Housekeeping. 

In time, Mother receiving those magazines was as exciting for me as for her. I loved reading the articles, the short stories, and flipping through the glossy pages of fashion and beauty products.

One remembrance which always makes me laugh came one day when Mother had received her Good Housekeeping (or possibly McCall's). I had returned home from school, gotten my homework behind me and sat down in the family room to read the magazine. Mother worked at the stove, just over my left shoulder.

I came across a magazine about a hard-spoken-of topic (in those days). "Mother," I called to her, "what's homosexuality?"

A moment of silence was followed by, "Where'd you hear that word?"

"Your magazine," I said, holding it up with the pages fanned to the article.

I looked at her. She appeared resigned to answer and she did, but she wasn't happy about it.

What amazes me is this: I was a teenager. A teenager! And I didn't know.

I love my parents for protecting me. I wish I could have done the same ...

One of my favorite poems came from American Girl. In a sidebar the words:

How odd of God
to choose the Jews.

I didn't know what it meant, exactly. I didn't know anything much about Jews except that Jesus had been born into the faith of Judaism and that it was the root of mine, Christianity.

Years later the words came to mind when I found the poem in its entirety:

How odd of God
to choose the Jews,
but odder still
are those who choose
the Jewish God
but hate the Jews.

Now do yourself a favor: enlarge the magazine at the top right ... read the headlines. Amazing ...