My word! A third of the way through June already! First official day of Summer is not that far away. And all downhill from there, the days progressively shorter. I am a Spring person. Definitely not Winter, nor Autumn. And not Summer either, not really. Spring is my time. And it draws short.
I've been told that as we age, time seems to fly past. Perhaps that is true. Seems like it was just a a short while ago that we were going through the countdown to the New Year and New Millenium, the transition from 1999 to 2000. We were in the midst of another transition, we'd just moved from East Tennessee (yes, they capitalize it) to western Arkansas, as I began a new job. We were in the house we'd just signed the mortgage papers on and had moved into, sitting by the wood-fired fireplace, having been assured that at midnight, the World Would Come To An End and all electricity, etc. would vanish. We doubted that, but took precautions anyway, just in case. Didn't happen, of course. I guess that the jugs of water and various other things were used up, eventually. It was like "camping out" but indoors. Actually, those supplies were handy later on: that area is right on the Oklahoma-Arkansas line, and there are excellent reasons that national Tornado Center is located in Norman, Oklahoma, not too distant. They have all-too-frequent occasion to study those phenomena up close. So we got some experience in being without power for days at a time. Cooking over the fireplace has its attractions but camping on couches and chairs in the living room for three days can lose its entertainment value quickly. Especially when it's too dark to read, and too cold to spend a whole lot of time outside. We had some interesting family bonding time, but all of us are rather private people and staring at the same faces for days, even the faces of those you love, grows old. And, sometimes, you understand why some animals eat their young.
That job and that company fell apart less than five years later. The building is empty and has been for more than 12 years. The two little girls are grown and gone, out of college and married (one to a guy she met as a result of our move there). And neither will talk to us.
Seven years after that move, we'd moved back to Tennessee for a few years until yet another collapse and a whole lot of scrambling, then to Alabama. Within a 5-week span, less than a year after that, my mother died, my employer collapsed, and my mother-in-law died. So we had two thousand-mile trips (that's a thousand miles each way, times two, so 4,000 miles all by car) in short order and under very stressful conditions already. Six months after THAT, older daughter was married, so we had a trip for that which was 640 miles each way. Two years later, younger daughter married also, but at least that was in the same town we were in. Four years later, our newest son-in-law's dad died, a great guy. Three months later, we made what we hope is our final relocation on this earth.
We've been through some Stuff, to be sure. Some transitions. And it all seems like it just recently happened. Perspective is an odd thing. I've sometimes said that a blessing doesn't always feel like one, at the time. Later on, when you look back, you might go, "OH!! NOW I see! Yes, it couldn't have been accomplished any other way! Wow!" Not luck. The Lord.
As I said, Daughter #1 met her husband as a result of that move to Arkansas. Wouldn't have ever met him otherwise. Was there a Divine Plan working there? Perhaps.
Daughter #2 met HER husband as a result of the move to Alabama. Again, wouldn't have ever met him otherwise. Another Divine Plan?
We met some wonderful people along the way, in the midst of our struggles, and sometimes theirs as well. Had membership and roles in too many churches too. But we learned some things too.
I've heard people complain about a church, the line is "it doesn't meet my needs". OK. Perhaps, just perhaps, you're there to meet someone else's needs, not your own. To care for, not necessarily to be coddled. To seek, not so much to be blessed, as to be a blessing.
And, by the way, one of the hardest jobs you'll never hear about, is being the pastor's wife. Yes, it's tough being the pastor. Not easy being the preacher's kid either. But being the Wife takes a special person. And very few people feel "led" to meet her needs, too often the pastor doesn't either. It can nearly break some, and I've seen some wonderful women stressed about to the breaking point. Happens far too often.
The Old Testament passage here is chapters 32 and 33 of 2nd Chronicles. A time of turmoil and degeneracy, desperate efforts to put the nation back on track, efforts that were ultimately futile. Yes, Hezekiah was a good king. His son and successor, Manasseh, was evil. And his son in turn, Amon, was more so. The end is near.
II Chronicles 33
Our reading today from the New Testament is verses 24-40, chapter 18 of the Gospel of John.
Jesus, having been betrayed and seized, is first hauled before the religious authorities, and then transferred to Pilate, a Roman authority. Pilate gave us one of history's most notoriously awful lines. Jesus proclaimed Truth. Pilate, sarcastically, said, "What is truth?", a forerunner of today's post-modernists who deny objective truth. But Jesus was right. Pilate, and the "sophisticated" post-modernists were and are wrong.