Do you think that God hears your voice? I’ll be honest – the concept of the Creator of the universe listening to me – is sometimes too much for me to conceive. The reason I sometimes struggle with the idea is that I can feel that my voice seems too small to reach God in the midst of all that goes on in the world.
On this particular Wednesday, I am in the Holy Land. It has been a great trip with a group of wonderful people! Yesterday was a particular blessing for me. I had a chance to relive a special moment. Two years ago I was part of another trip to the Holy Land and we stopped to have lunch in Jericho, part of the Palestinian Authority. The restaurant was owned and run by a Muslim family and they were good friends of our guide who was Jewish. Not only was I moved by the hospitality that was shown to me and my family, I was moved by the friendship that existed between my guide and the family. I had a picture taken with the two men and I thought how funny for the three of us to be together – a Palestian Muslim, an Israeli Jew, and an American Christian.
In two weeks St. Luke’s will be leaving on a trip to the Holy Land. I am working on all the last minute things I have to get done before I leave. I am making up a half dozen to-do lists of personal tasks, things I still need to pick up from the store, people I need to call, things to do for church, and so on. But in all the things I have to prepare, I realized that I had neglected to put myself on any of the lists.
In honor of teachers (and in hopes that this post will make its way to Mr. Goodner) please share this status and add the name of a teacher who changed YOUR life!
Teachers have changed my life – over and over again!
Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
On the previous evening he said the following in what would be his final speech:
I was driving to work one day and was caught in the morning traffic on the Broadway Extension. I happened to look in my rearview mirror and saw that the woman driving the car behind me had a big smile on her face. I couldn’t help but wonder about her. At first, I admit when I initially saw her I thought that she was smiling at something I had done. Isn’t that sad? In the blink of an eye I had a moment of self-centered cynicism. Once I got past that negative thought, I wondered if she was on the phone with someone, but I never saw her talking – just smiling. I realized that she just had a natural friendly expression on her face. When I looked in the mirror at myself, I realized that I was not smiling. Now, I wasn’t frowning or anything – just sort of a neutral countenance. I decided to imitate the woman who was behind me and just drive the rest of the way into work with a smile on my face. You know what? It changes the way you feel.
One morning recently I had a disagreement with my son. It was just a minor misunderstanding – the kind of thing that blows over easily. But as I was getting ready to leave the house a thought crossed my mind that I was leaving with things a bit unsettled. I thought how terrible it would be if I was involved in some car wreck and died (yes – I probably watch too many dramatic shows!). But I wasn’t sad over the thought of losing my life, I was sad over the thought of my son wrestling over our last encounter. I knew that he would feel regret and the thought of him feeling that way made me sad. Again, we didn’t even have a real argument or anything but I would never want him to think that he would need to feel guilty. Keep in mind that I had my own emotions of being a little miffed but more important to me was making sure that I didn’t leave my son in a bad way or in a situation where he struggled with guilt.
This Sunday is Epiphany Sunday. It is one of the oldest of holidays that we celebrate in the Church. Epiphany is from a Greek word that means “manifestation”. It means that something is revealed or made known. Perhaps you have heard someone say, “I’ve had an epiphany!” (although I don’t know a lot of people who have the word “epiphany” as part of their daily vocabulary!) The exclamation is intended to mean that an idea, thought, or explanation has come to mind. Something has been made known to them.
Just five days! Our Christmas morning tradition is – orange rolls. It is so much a part of our holiday, that we never eat orange rolls at any other time during the year. It is a tradition we’ve held since our daughter Hannah was very young. It started because I wanted to have the most time to focus with my family. I would buy the orange rolls in a can so that it would be quick and easy. As the years progressed and Hannah & Brooks got older, they started asking for homemade orange rolls. Several years ago I found a great recipe and started making the rolls from scratch. Now that the kids are older, Christmas morning isn’t so much about the fun of playing with new toys (which was a lot of fun for all of us!) but has become more about enjoying the morning together.
As we draw closer to Christmas, I want to encourage you to read “The Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. It doesn’t take that long and it has some of the most moving phrases I have read.