While visiting our son and his family in Florida last month, I had a health issue. I suddenly was unstable and felt weak. My doctor had changed my medicine so I wondered if that was it. I called and he told me that could be it, but he needed to see me as soon as I got home.
During the time before we returned, our family kept checking on me. Hope asked if I should go to the emergency room. I gave her a quick answer, adding that I didn’t want to get trapped in Florida. She asked what I meant. I told her I wanted to come home.
What did I mean by that? Not that our son’s home was not a “home” that cared for me. Not that the doctors there were not qualified to treat me. “Home” was the place I felt secure and safe. Home was where my recliner was. Home was all the familiar things which gave me security. Home was where my extended family, the church, was.
I sometimes think in our rush to make everyone a “soul saver” that we overlook the value in the church being a sanctuary, a place of rest. A place where we know we are loved. A place where we can feel safe. That’s what I meant when I said I wanted to come home.
How would you describe “home”? “Home is where the heart is.” That’s probably the most familiar one. It can be seen in the Psalms written during the Jewish exile. It can be seen in the hymns that were written during certain time in history. The spirituals from the slaves sang of “looking over Jordan” to that better home. The swinging chariot “comin’ for to carry me home.” Or, at a later time, “This world is not my home, I’m justa passin’ through.”
All such songs are written from the mood and the moment. It is not a sin to say they do not express where you are at the moment. I’ve never really liked that last song, I quoted, although I sing it because it has good beat.
Without getting theological, as I read the story of creation, the earth was exactly what we needed. If you want to lean heavily on how we blew it, okey. But it is the place I find a sense of belonging. “I see the stars and hear the rolling thunder” works well for me. I also see the church as that “place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.”
Regardless, there is power in “home.” When the military person in some foreign land, even with compatriots nearby, the thoughts that fill the brain will most likely be those of home and family.
What about the “church home”? For the Jewish exiles the “church home” was Jerusalem and the temple. They knew God was greater than the temple, but the temple gave them a sense of security and well-being. Was that often misplaced? Yes. But when they were away it made a difference in their lives.
So when I said I wanted to come home, I meant to the place which offered me the most security at the time. For me, that was the rest of my family, my church family.
As the preacher, I look out over the congregation each Sunday. I see you in your usual pew and I see people who offer me their love and support. And I want them to feel the same about me. It makes a difference when we are together. There is strength that flows through “fellowship.”
I’ve said this before, but there have been days when I didn’t feel like going to church. I’ve also said that unless there was some problem or crisis, I always felt better when I came. I hope that is true for you as well.
I hope the smiles and hugs you receive from this family mean as much as they do to me. The church is the place the touch and feel of God can be experienced. It is the place where God can be the most real.
You may be curious about my problem. We had boarded a plane for Florida and the flight went well. When we got off, it was a very long walk to the baggage claim, and I felt it.
The next morning I could hardly walk, and ended up needing a cane. So a trip that started out walking, ended up returning in a wheelchair.
My doctor sent me to a neurologist, and fortunately I was able to see him in four days. After tests he discovered I had Parkinson’s related tremors. It is treatable and I should notice a major difference in about two months. The day after I started the medicine I was pretty much waking without the cane. At this time I no longer need it. My thanks for your prayers and well-wishes, and especially your hugs.
CONCERNS: Douglas Dorn, from the Blacksburg congregation, is suffering from complications of diabetes. He is in intensive care at Lewis Gale. Melisha Scruggs’ friend’s mother, Sue Hall, is in hospice care from cancer. Former member, Shelda (Jean) Miller is recovering from ankle replacement, and her husband, Dwight had back surgery. Rachel Mitchell is having back and neck issues. Gary Overstreet is still in rehab at Raleigh Court. Remember Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson (cancer) Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s aunt, Pat Voss, and her niece, Jamie Cole. Wayne Phlegar and David Albert. Good news: Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, is in remission. She still has other health issues. The Bolin’s friend, Chris Campbell, has recovered from his stroke. Tolly Nicklas remains about the same. Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: FEB. 6-11
Monday: Matthew 7:7-11
Tuesday: Romans 3:21-31
Wednesday: James 2:14-26
Thursday: Mark 2:1-12
Friday: I Peter 1:3-12
Saturday: Psalm 105:1-45
OUR DAILY BREAD: FEB. 20-25
Monday: Acts 17:16-34
Tuesday: Colossians 3:1-17
Wednesday: John 11:17-44
Thursday: Romans 4:1-8; 5:1-11
Friday: I Thessalonians 5;12-28
Saturday: Psalm 118:1-29
You may remember Isabelle Simmons. Isabelle had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Several of us attended a fund-raiser for her in March, 2010.
Leena Bolin checked on her progress and was told she is very healthy and doing well. The side effects of the chemo plague her with tooth and stomach problems, but otherwise healthy. Thank you Leena for the update.
Thanks to Wayne Flora and Del Bolin for filling in for Keith while he was on vacation, as well the times he was sick last month.
THE FINANCIAL SITUATION
Due to several interruptions, the financial statement and budget has not yet been formed. However, your generosity has made it possible to deal with the needs and improvements as well as the benevolent work of this church.
There will need to be some work done on the sewer at the preacher’s home. Thank you all for believing in the place of God’s kingdom in Roanoke, and the challenges we face in this new year.
We have enjoyed having visitors with us the last few Sundays. Be sure to greet them