Friday, June 6, 2008
For Sunday June 8 - It's a Long Race
I think I mis-named the sermon, but it's already printed in the bulletin, so "oh well." It isn't the first time I've thought about what to name the thing and then, later, I think, "What was I thinking? That's not what it's about at all." Anyway...
Fourteen years ago, when Ana was just a couple of months away from releasing Malia from her womb, I thought it would be fun to take a little trip. So we borrowed a friend's mini-van, tossed in almost 4-yr old Amanda, 18 month old Becca, and invited the rest of Ana's family to come along on an adventure. And surprisingly, they signed on. Ana's sister, hubby, and their 2 small children; Ana's brother and his new wife. The Adventure: A driving trip from Fresno California to British Columbia - just over 1000 miles each way with 2 small children, a 7.5 month pregnant wife, and just enough money to stay in every Motel 6 we could find along the way. (They may leave the light on for ya, but they need to wash their sheets better and maybe think about some new mattresses too...) This is the kind of husband and father I was. Along the way, Ana discovered just how car sick a pregnant woman could become in the winding hills of Southern Oregon, how bad sciatica could hurt, and, I suspect at that moment, how much she wished she had married a rich man who could fly her to the French Riviera. It was a good time.
I relate this story because it reminds me of Abram (later he was Abraham) and the push God gave him in this week's passage out of his homeland and into - the unknown future. For my family, it was on that 2000 mile driving trip that we truly felt God telling us it was time to pack up, leave Fresno, and to come to Oregon. You see, on that very trip we stopped off and met the good folks of Cedar Hills Baptist Church for the first time. Just a few days before leaving on our trip, we got a call from the "search committee" from CHBC. I did a phone interview and told them we were heading out on this trek North. They said, "come on by when you're here" and so we did. It was, oddly enough, a bit cool and rainy and we fell in love with the people and the place. A few weeks later we were back for a weekend, and the rest, as they say, is history. Fourteen years of melding our lives with people here; of kids growing up and heading off to college soon; of mission trips and prisons, VBS's and weddings, funerals and baptisms. Life together. Who would have known? It was very hard to leave who and what we knew. Family, friends, that life. The only thing that mad it easier was sensing clearly that God was directing us.
Surely Abraham didn't know the big story, even though God told him more than he tells most of us. It really isn't a race at all, as my mislabeled title implies. It's about God's Story working it's way out in lives as he melds those lives together into his Big Story. And every good and lousy thing that happens in our little stories fits somehow into a wonderful, Grand Tale told by the Author.
Thoughts? - Curtis