Friday, July 3, 2015

To the next generation

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I was surprised yesterday, in a break in day-long meetings, to find a gentleman on my front porch, a very old former pastor. He had come to simply welcome me to the district and to the new church I'm in the opening days of serving. He had a full flock of white hair and he staggered a bit as he stood and talked with me. His voice was as deep as a well, and he laughed loudly several times. As he left, I began to think about what all this means -- this pastoring thing.

So far I've been privileged to serve as churches over much of the state of Louisiana. With each of them, I sort of got a feeling of history. In other words, I serve in a long line of witnesses, a long line of servants, a long line of pastors.

It's part of the gig, a tremendous honor. I remember quite a few years ago when my first book was published. I was gratified to have this done, but most importantly, I felt a great, great joy in knowing that I was now listed in the Library of Congress (as are all published books). In other words, there was a record that I was here, that all this -- my life -- hasn't been a mere wisp of smoke and then I'm gone type of thing. I have stories in newspaper files in some dim closet in many newspapers.

And now I join a long, long line of pastors who have been at First UMC Coushatta/Wesley Chapel.

I thought of all this this morning as I read from the Psalms.

The Bible says this: Let this be recorded for future generations, so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord. Tell them the Lord looked down from his heavenly sanctuary. he looked down to earth from heaven to hear the groans of the prisoners, to release those condemned to die. And so the Lord's am will be celebrated in Zion, his praises in Jerusalem, when multitudes gather together and kingdoms come to worship the Lord."

That's what all this must be about, friends. For people not yet born, we spread the news of a living God who doesn't falter when culture says He must, who doesn't retreat in the face of change, who doesn't stop in the eyes of those who would push him into the background.

We serve at the behest not of the Bishop but at the behest of a God so powerful a tear would flood the earth.

Look up some night and feel small, folks.
Look around some day and feel big, folks.

God is living in us, through his Holy Spirit. That's enough to be remembered for' that's enough to pass down to those not yet born.

It is our job. Let's get it on.