Friday, December 10, 2010

Celebrating His Peace

12-10-10; I sit at my computer in South-central Michigan midway between Turkey Day and Christ-day. A brilliant sun shines in my west window warming my upstairs bedroom-office. My spouse sleeps quietly, her heating pad on her back, tucked in downstairs, leaving me some moments for reflection.

Our friend La Vaughn wrote the following lines how ever many years ago, which I intended to use on Turkey-day, but was away from my computer. Her reflections fill me with thoughts to consider before I go down to fix dinner. “Reflections On Thanksgiving Day” offers words we all need to ponder:
I not only have joy,
I have peace!
I not only have plenty,
I have abundance!
I am not only free from pain,
I have good health!
I not only have a house,
I have a home!
I not only have acquaintances,
I have friends!
I not only have a mate,
I have a partner!
I not only have an Almighty God,
I have a heavenly Father!

La Vaughn now lives in Roswell, NM with her husband of more than 50 years, Jim Goss. We met in 1947 in San Antonio; she was the preacher’s kid. Her parents, Robert and Alta Ruth Bowden left Missouri, pastored in Kansas and Missouri, but spent their lives pioneering in Texas, in Church of God ministry.

During my final pastoral years, I kept the business card of La Vaughn’s dad, R. E. Bowden stuck in the frame of my bathroom mirror. "Brother B" had carefully crossed out “50” years in ministry and inserted “65.” One of my dearest recollections of this veteran retiree was him making a 130 mile round trip every Sunday to provide a preaching service to a struggling little congregation that could no longer afford pastoral services.

As we approach a very simple 2010 Christmas, we approach it with reverent thankfulness for a lifetime of people like the Bowden’s (and all the others) who became part of our lives and whatever our heritage is. That includes a grandson I hope to live long enough to see fulfill his dream of being one of God’s Prophets.

We have the things we need for this day--not the plenty or abundance people “think” they need these days, but we have a home at our house and it is filled with grace-filled relationships, surrounded by sensitive friends that sympathize, empathize, and spread love and grace everywhere they go.

Our old house is filled with the pain of a mate who has lived on borrowed time most of her life. Yet today, I am thankful to have Someone to thank for her life and for my relatively good health, in spite of current infirmities. I was supposed to outlive her by a lifetime, but we will soon celebrate 64 years--married.

At noon, she talked to her baby, the “preemie,” a gift she could not medically conceive--but she did. Later, we took a call from number one grandson and discussed his growing passion for being a “disciple” of Jesus. He is a “privilege” I gave up hope of having. Although that marriage finally failed, it left us two wonderful grandsons.

I’ve talked to God for 20 years and coveted these boys for God's service. Today’s conversation focused on the journey #1 grandson is pursuing. Time will tell, but I see God leading him into a preaching ministry, beyond the sounds of music he has heard since he was but a tiny fetus.

In spite of war, depression, and political bickering at every turn, La Vaughn’s choice of words in her Thanksgiving Reflections cause me to reflect on the birth of Christ and the year’s end. Joy. Peace. Blessing. These are words Christians experience. They were words that announced the beginnings of Christ’s journey from Bethlehem to Calvary. As such, they launch the beginnings of the Christian Calendar.

What was the angelic music the Shepherds heard when they learned of Jesus’ extraordinary birth? “Peace on earth among men of good will.” O. F. Linn, my beloved Dean, explained it this way: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, among men of good will,” says the Greek. Jesus came during an era of universal peace. There has never been so much peace in the world since …

“But from the time of that glad angelic song there has been a deep and lasting peace among men of good will (emphasis added). International hatreds and prejudices may sweep as destructive storms over the nations of the earth, but through Jesus there is a good will that binds with imperishable bonds, the redeemed of all lands. . .” (47-48/Studies in the New Testament/Linn).

We do well to celebrate those words as we once more remember the birth of the Holy Child.

From Warner’s World,
May you be blessed with that peace that passes all understanding, walkingwithwarner,

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