Professor and preacher Fred Craddock tells about visiting a church one time where he was supposed to hold services on Friday evening, Saturday evening, and Sunday morning. When he pulled into the parking lot of the church, a funeral was concluding. People were moving to their automobiles; the hearse was still there. The minister saw him, recognized him, and motioned for him to come over. Craddock didn’t want to intrude; he was just waiting until the funeral was over. He was standing next to the widow. The pastor introduced her to Craddock, and Craddock felt awkward. He said to her, “This is no time for you to be meeting strangers. I’m sorry, and I’m really sorry about your loss.” Her husband had been killed in a car wreck and left her with four children. He said, “I know this is a very difficult time for you.”
She said, “It is. So I won’t be at the services tonight, but I’ll be there tomorrow night, and I’ll be there Sunday morning.”
Like any sensible and caring person, Craddock said, “Oh, you don’t need to.”
“Yes, I do,” she said.
He said, “Well, what I meant was, I know it’s a very hard time.”
And she said, “I know it’s hard. It’s already hard, but you see, this is my church, and they’re going to see that my children and I are okay.”
My church is going to see that we are okay. Isn’t that what a church is supposed to be all about?
Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest.
Filed under Church, Comfort
Many are familiar with the beautiful poem, “Footprints.” In this story, a man dreams that he has a talk with Jesus about his life. Like all of us, this man had a life full of triumphs and tragedies, love and loneliness, happiness and sadness. And like all of us, he had a lifelong relationship with God that was at times close and committed and at times distant and unclear.
The man and Jesus were walking along a sandy seashore and having a conversation that reviewed that man’s life. The man noticed that many times there were four footprints in the sand as the walk of life progressed. Jesus explained, “These are the times when we walked together. The times you shared your life with me, and I stood beside you every step.” But the man became troubled when he noticed that in his most painful, dark times of life there was only one set of footprints. He questioned the Lord as to why he had been abandoned and left to walk those times alone. Jesus explained these times, also. “My child, the reason that you see only one set of footprints is because those were the times I lifted you into my arms and carried you because you could not walk alone.” All was explained to the man except the occasional places along life’s walk where there seemed to be many footprints going in all directions in a hectic pattern in the sand. Jesus smiled and replied, “My son, these are the times when we danced!”
On this God Friday, remember those marvelous occasions when you have rejoiced in life. Those overwhelmingly happy moments of life when your Lord “danced” with you! Take every opportunity to put on your dancing shoes!
PRAYER: Father – Help me to remember with joy marvelous moments in life, and help me now to “dance” with wonder at the blessings you give me.
- The dance goes on (catchjohnfischer.wordpress.com)
This Friday is a somber day for Christians throughout the world. Maybe I have a slight feeling for what Mary, the mother of Jesus experienced as she watched her son die such a slow and painful death.
I have read about the horror of a crucifixion and what an awful death it was. It was so demeaning that no Roman would be subject to it, only outsiders.
May you realize the sacrifice that God has made for you this Easter Season. In His unparalleled grace and mercy, He has forgiven you all your sins. You are His beloved child.
In return, ask Him what plan He has in mind for you.
English: Portrait drawing of John Wesley, founder of Methodism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What is the “John Wesley Fast?”
Each Thursday evening, after the evening meal, until mid-afternoon on each Friday, Methodist people are invited to follow Wesley’s example of fasting and prayer. During this time he did not take solid food but fasted and focused much of his time in prayer.
What is a fast?
Normally persons do not use solid food, but continue with liquids during such a short but regular fast.
Who is invited to participate in the “John Wesley Fast?”
John Wesley expected the “preachers” to participate, and he wanted all of the Methodist leaders and people to follow this discipline.
Why this pattern?
Methodist people are invited to discover the power in this regular pattern and discipline that John Wesley followed for a half a century. For Wesley, the more important reason for fasting was that fasting is a help to prayer.
During this Lenten season let me suggest that we all observe the “John Wesley Fast” as a Lenten discipline.
- Nouwen and Wesley: Incompatible? (johnmeunier.wordpress.com)
- Going on to Perfection (sandibentonplasters.wordpress.com)