Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wedding Congratulations!

Daniel and Melissa will get married this Saturday, Nov. 1. This Thursday he and about a dozen of his closest peers will pile into a rented van and head out for the l-o-n-g ride to North Carolina. (Melissa has been there for a week attending to last minute details.) I think it is incredibly special that his and Melissa’s friends are willing to make this trip to show love and support for them. It seems to me their journey could serve as a metaphor for marriage--great fun, bumpy, unforgettable, and, if everyone can practice letting go of irritations, unifying.

I like reflecting on Jesus’s first miracle being at a wedding. If he was wanting to get our attention, it worked. It was his mother, of course, who requested he do something. And what a spectacular something he did--changing water into wine! I think it is fair to say Jesus cared about important celebrations.

Daniel’s friends care, and we in our extended livingstones community care, too. So our deep-felt congratulations and sincere prayers go out to Daniel and Melissa--May God richly bless you now and in all your years together!


Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Early Years

In the interest of not overwhelming anyone, I will be posting my spiritual journey in digestible portions. :-)

My dad was stationed in Colorado Springs when I was born, and 11 months thereafter he followed a call to be a pastor. I've read his written response to that call, and he was full of love for the Lord, and eager to serve the Lord in that capacity. He took an early discharge from the Air Force, and moved into my grandparents' home in a suburb of Philadelphia. He went to a Bible institute, worked part time, and my mom went back to work (and received a PHT--Putting Hubby Through--certificate) to help pay the bills.

This left my grandmother in what she considered a delightful situation. She was my primary caregiver for the next four years. My dad was an only child, and I became the daughter that she had always wanted to complete her family, but could never bear herself. My grandmother lived out her faith daily under difficult circumstances. We were two families living in a small, two-bedroom bungalow, and my grandfather was a difficult man to live with. She often included me in her Bible reading and prayer times. She cared for me tenderly, and although she was a pattern housekeeper, she always seemed to have time to help me have a tea party with my dolls out on the patio in the side yard. She taught me homemaking skills, and it was all part of who she was in her walk with the Lord. Although I do not remember it, family history records that I knelt with her when I was around four years old and asked Jesus into my heart. I never doubted at that time that Jesus loved me dearly. Several years later my dad baptized me in the Baptist church in which he had grown up.

The only mystery in connection with God that touched my life at that time was what I picked up from our Italian neighbors. They were Roman Catholic. One stormy day I was playing with Stephen and Frankie in their basement, and saw their St. Christopher medals. I asked them what they were, and their mother, "Aunt" Rita, told me what they were, and that they would keep the boys safe. I was fascinated. When I got home, I told my grandmother that I wanted "a piece of iron" around my neck. Of course she quickly disabused me of any such notions, and told me "We don't believe that way."

When I was five, my dad took his first pastorate in Pleasant Heights, Colorado, a minuscule church in an almost invisible town on the prairie in Southeastern Colorado. I was taken away from the one human being whose love I never doubted, and whose tender care was woven through my days to a barren prairie home with two people who were almost strangers to me. I grieved silently during the days for my grandmother, but the nights told the truth as I often woke screaming after nightmares in which my grandmother died. They lasted for several months.

This was the part where I learned that if one carefully conformed on the outside, and didn't rock any boats, everyone around me was happy. Quite possibly the closet rebel was formed at that time. We were there about two years during which my father pastored two different churches in SE Colorado, my brother joined the family, and then moved back to my grandparents' house while my dad went for his degree in Bible.

To be continued...

Susan Price

Sunday, October 5, 2008

God's Garden

On a regular walk in our neighborhood, I briefly stopped to greet a man working in his garden. He was busy trimming his rose bush when I told him how lovely I thought his flowers looked. He smiled kindly, but said, “You don’t see the bugs and weeds I’m struggling with.” “No, I said, “all I see are your beautiful flowers.” We both chuckled, and I walked on. Today I walked past his house again, and again I slowed down to enjoy his flowers. I had thought his small patch was pretty before, but now it was stunning. He had weeded and trimmed everything, and the proportion of leaves, limbs and blooms was exquisite. I think we are like his garden; we present well enough, but if let God do his work of trimming and weeding we can be stunningly effective in reflecting his glory.

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