Thu 26 Feb 2015
In 1961 or 1962, the Bering Drive Church of Christ was formed in Houston, TX. Its first minister, Pat Harrell, was my mentor. He died of cancer at fifty years old, after serving for several years as the Director of the Institute for Christian Studies. Now the Austin Graduate School of Theology. For years after his death I’d received the bulletin, “Bering Today”, with its catchy double-meaning title. I no longer do. However, over the years several ministers have served that church. One of them was Bill Love. Bill also died young from the result of a stroke.
In one of Bill’s bulletins (as I remember) he was talking about his daughter moving to Cincinnati. He was talking to her about churches. She said, “Remember dad, today it’s about relationship.”
I thought about that during these last weeks of freezing cold and snow. We had to cancel on the 15th due to the frigid cold, and then on the 22nd because of a late Saturday snow.
Like many of my age, my memories of church was not about relationship. That is not to say there were no relationships built at church. There were. But the main thrust of church was obedience to God. Attendance was checked, primarily so there would be no backsliding.
As an act of obedience, church attendance was to be endured, like it or not, and I don’t mean that from a child’s point of view. Church was just done. Period. Which is not to say it was bad. It wasn’t, at least most of the time. However, church fights always stand out more than the good things which happen.
What I’m talking about is, if we had to close due to the weather, (which was seldom because it was in the city of Cincinnati) it seemed to be more about either displeasing God, or not caring enough about God. As a child, neither of those things entered my mind, any more than when school was closed.
Neither do those feelings trouble me today. My first and second thoughts when we have to cancel church are not about God’s displeasure, or guilt that I’m slacking off. My first thought is about relationship. I miss being with the people who make up my faith fellowship. I’ve found, as have you, that there is a void in my life when I am not with those who worship together here. There is a sense of emptiness in the week that follows, like something is missing. Is it that God is not around? No. God is everywhere. It is that those I know who bring a special meaning to my life are not there in the same way as they are when we are together.
I am reminded of the title and opening line from one of John Donne’s poems, No man is an island. “No man is an island, Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
Since he was also awarded an honorary degree in Theology, one might assume the line and title was influenced by Paul’s statement in Romans 14:7. “For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.” Of course, Donne was reading that from the King James vernacular, which carries the meaning more toward his point in the poem.
I think Paul and Donne caught the flavor of life. It is lived in its fullest when it is shared with others in a mutual love and respect. Ideally, the Church should be the lighthouse which guides people to such a place.
I’m not playing “My church is better than your church” when I say I’m glad to be part of a church that shines a light of welcome to all people. A church who’s atmosphere is such that when we are not together, something is missing from our lives.
After the announcement that once again we were going to have to cancel the service, some of you emailed me about needing their ‘fix”. There was one who said we should develop skype, so we could all be together. Another talked about the sermon on video. The last one lacks the essential ingredient; being together. As Susan Jordan said a few years ago, “I know God loves me, but I need to feel some flesh.”
CONCERNS: Betty Billings, Keith Wagner’s sister, is in the Raleigh Court Health Care Center. She is in Room 112A She will be there at least three weeks. Roger Fisher got a good report from some tests. Bill Albert’s son, David, is still in very serious condition. Good news. Wayne Flora’s postmaster, Todd Baumgardner, received both a kidney and a pancreas transplant and is doing well. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas (leukemia), Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary (MS), Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Rich Crites, Jim Hunter Deana McRoy, Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, TimElder, Mary Smith and Mrs. Mataro.
OUR DAILY BREAD: MARCH 2-7
Monday: John 10:1-18
Tuesday: Matthew 13:24-33
Wednesday: Psalm 90:1-17
Thursday: Luke 14:15-24
Friday: Amos 5:18-6:1
Saturday: Psalm 71:1-24
OUR DAILY BREAD: MARCH 9-14
Monday: Matthew 7:7-11
Tuesday: Romans 3:21-31
Wednesday: James 2:1-12
Thursday: Mark 2:1-12
Friday: I Peter 1:3-12
Saturday: Psalm 105:1-45
COMMUNITY BIBLE STUDY
Just a reminder since we have had to cancel services two weeks in a row due to the weather, if you are part of this Sunday morning study, read Matthew, and be prepared to discuss why Matthew uses the “Kingdom of Heaven” so many times, rather than the “Kingdom of God”. Coffee time is at 9:15 and the class starts at 9:30.
Melisha Scruggs is now with Richfield Wellness & Rehab in Salem. She will also be moving closer to her work there soon.
The weather has delayed the taking of new pictures for the directory. Neither has Erma been able to fact-check all the information to be sure we have it right. Hopefully she will be in touch with some more of you on Sunday. In the mean time, if a birthday or anniversary is missed in the bulletin please call attention to it.
THE VENT WORK
Since we’ve been talking about how the weather has upset things, add the work to restructure the return air vent in the adult classroom. The heating and air conditioning folks have also been very busy helping people who lost their heat during this cold spell. So because their needs are more important than something we’ve put up with for maybe fifty years, work will start as soon as possible.
RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE
Our involvement with the Ronald McDonald House continues and several “new” folks from here have recently gone and helped prepare the Sunday evening meal, as well as interacting with the parents of the children who are in the hospital. Each person who goes who has not been there before should take a tour. It will make you feel good that such a modern and well equipped place is available to parents during a time when a child may just be hanging to life in the neonatal unit. Thanks for all of you who have helped and had the experience of what the Ronald McDonald House is all about. And if you haven’t gone, do so.