I casually asked a parishioner the other day how he lost his hand. I knew it happened when he was a young man, so I didn’t expect him to get emotional. But as he told the story, his demeanor began to change.
We have seen a lot of death around here lately. Last summer, our neighbor came by to tell us he was throwing a block party. Two weeks later, he had a heart attack and died. His wife threw the party anyway. We planted a tree for him in his yard and drank lemonade.
About a week after my mother-in-law died, I went by her house to borrow her sieve. Every year, my daughter and I borrow grandma’s sieve to make applesauce. Then we take some applesauce back to her. I was hoping the sieve was still there. I knew my mother-in-law was gone, but I wanted to find the sieve. Maybe it was still in the house.
It happened again today. I drove up to one of my favorite cafes in a nearby town and was shocked to find it closed. I don’t mean closed today. I mean closed forever. But they knew me there! They knew I liked those vanilla creamers and my eggs poached hard! I sat with the engine running, hungry and caffeine-deprived, wondering where I would go for breakfast. Why didn’t they warn me? I would have come by to say good-bye.
Anthony Robinson said it well in a recent Stillspeaking devotional. Maybe the future of the church is a lot simpler than it is today. Breaking bread, prayers, learning about the word and caring for the lost are the simple acts Jesus led his little band to engage in.
Sometimes, when one church is struggling, another church helps out. One church I interviewed (for the From Death to Life project) was a new ethnic church development that was
given a building, basically for free, from a church that died. But we
all know you get what you pay for, and the building they got had more
than a few structural problems. They received some support for the
pastor’s salary from their denomination, but the building was weighing
them down with repair bills.