My dad, the church, Beth Moore, FORGIVENESS, and my AMAZING GOD
I find myself sitting at the computer in a sulky mood this afternoon. I’m not sure why…
Ella and I have had a great morning. We watched Sesame Street, then went to the gym where she played in KidWatch (which she loves) and I did cardio. Then we met Amy & Jackson at Kangaroo Jac’s to play. Katie was working so she ended up “bouncing” with the kids while Amy & I watched. (Understand…we would’ve been watching even if Katie wasn’t there. We do our best to let Ella and Jackson play together without us for as long as possible).
Ella stayed awake all the way home – even after the trip got longer due to a detour around the water main break on Hungry (forgot to call dad and ask if it was fixed yet). She went down for her nap like a champ.
So why so blue? I’m not sure. I started thinking about the fact that I hadn’t finished updating the prayer list at church. Then I started thinking about church and people and things that happened earlier this year that resulted in lost friendships. And there it is…the source of melancholy.
See…part of what happened was a feeling from some people that my father should no longer be the minister at our church. Some of the people who felt this way (really, all) were people that I considered to be my friends…even some like family to me. I didn’t understand the reasoning behind their thought.
I know that you see me as biased in this situation (and I am a little…), but I think my dad is a great minister. I didn’t always. He was too much my DAD for me to see him without the DAD filter on. If you’ve followed my blog over the years – as sporadic as it has been – then you’ll remember that I wrote one day about how much I hated being a preacher’s daughter. It was the year of my dad’s 25th anniversary with the church and not one word had been said about doing anything for him. Some churches send their ministers on paid vacations as anniversary presents and ours wasn’t even thinking about mentioning it.
So I blogged about my frustrations and thoughts and within a week a party was in the works. It was a GREAT party with many people returning to visit and share their memories.
Let me tell you – my dad is a GREAT minister. I have spent some time researching other religions and denominations of faith and one thing I find again and again are unapproachable figure heads. The people who work “under” the minister do the day-to-day work of visiting the sick and needy. They are people you call in the middle of the night, not that man who stands up front on Sunday (or Saturday). Even in some independent Christian Churches the elders & deacons in the church do all the visiting of the sick and with new attendees.
At UCC, my dad is the guy you call in the middle of the night. My dad is the one who (sometimes) beats you to the hospital the morning of your surgery to pray with you and sit with your family. My dad has flown home from vacations to sit by the bed of someone passing on from this life. My dad is the one who calls you after you visit and asks to come see you to talk about our church and your beliefs. My dad sits with those getting married and counsels them in MARRIAGE and not just WEDDING. My dad holds the hands of those in a marriage on the rocks and prays for them…right then and there…in their time of need.
If you need him…he’s there. Man, I love who my dad is as a minister. I am blessed to be his kid. I didn’t understand why he would leave home in the middle of the night or fly home before we even got to Disney when I was younger, but I think I do now…
I attend a Ladies Bible Study at First Baptist Church in downtown Richmond on Monday mornings. I love this group and I am thankful to my mommy-friend Whitney for inviting me. Currently we are doing Beth Moore’s Here and Now…There and Then study on the book of Revelation. If you’ve done any Beth Moore studies then you know that this woman knows her Bible and you will to if you study with her often enough. She jumps all around to bring understanding and clarity. I LOVE IT. This week we did Session 4 covering Revelation 4 & 5. In Revelation 4 the throne room of God is described.
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
Wow! That is AWESOME! I mean…A-W-E-S-O-M-E!
Want to know the coolest thing I learned from Beth this week?
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,<sup class="footnote" value="[e]”> Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
That throne in Hebrews 4 is the very same throne as the throne John describes in Revelation 4.
WHOA!!! I can approach that glorious thundering, lightning, amazing throne with CONFIDENCE because I “do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with [my] weakness”.
Now, my dad is not the “great high priest” and he certainly is not without sin, but he is able to identify with anyone who walks through the doors of our church. He LOVES the people of our church the way GOD LOVES HIS CHILDREN and you FEEL IT when you’re around him. He even loves the ones who have treated him poorly at some time in the last 28 years…That to me is a mark of a GREAT minister.
I just can’t understand why people I loved wanted him gone so badly. It makes me angry and sad. I struggle every day with that “why”.
And here is the kicker…I HAVEN’T FORGIVEN THEM.
I thought I had…I really did. Until this Beth Moore study. Last Monday (9/27/10) Beth spoke about unforgiveness. In Jesus’ letter to Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7) Jesus says (v 4-5): “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” The church at Ephesus hated what Jesus hated, but they did not love what Jesus loved.
Beth went on to talk about the fact that if we are holding on to unforgiveness then we are not loving what (or WHO) Jesus loves. We are not loving them in the way Jesus loves them. She also talked about the fact that we should be holding on to God with both of our hands – not dividing our loyalty. She went on to say, “If we are hanging on to unforgiveness, we are not holding on to God.” WHOA! I need to get myself right.
I am holding on to unforgiveness – forsaking my FIRST LOVE, Jesus. If I don’t SEND FORTH TO GOD (not just “let go” of it and send it out to who-knows-where) my anger, frustration, and hurt then I am holding on to it and not holding on to God. And that my friend is SIN.
So…I am SENDING FORTH my melancholy feelings to God. I’ll let him take care of them.
Well, my 23-month-old (today) princess is awake and she needs a mommy full of God’s love (and a bit of His patience would help too)! Before I go…I need to pray so the distractions of the rest of the day doesn’t cause me to miss out on putting down what I need to say to my creator today.
God, I give to you my frustration, my non-understanding, my upset, my anger, my hurt and my sadness. It is YOURS. I no longer want the sin of unforgiveness weighing me down. Take my sin and HURL IT (Micah 7:19) into your crystal sea (Rev 4:6) of forgetfulness.
You are an awesome God. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for sending your perfect son, my great high priest, to walk this earth before and and die on a cross to save me from my sins.
It is in HIS perfect name I pray, Amen.