Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Sending this out with a prayer that all of you are well. “The one who watches over you will not slumber; the one who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Ps 121:3-4). This is military language of guard-duty, a sentry or a watchman. He is awake so we can sleep in peace, sleep deeply.

We’re loving the video clips at the close of online worship. This week, at the very end (after “Virtual Narthex”), is a video on Jubilee Reach, one of our channels for helping the poor. Be sure and stay tuned for that. Also, while we’re spending so much time at home, please take a look at Shiv’s guide to family worship.

I learned years ago, when our kids were young, that whether or not you can pull off family worship is an indicator of who everyone at home either expects you to be, or knows you to be, and what kind of culture you’ve created at home. If it’s natural to worship as a family, that’s telling you something about the kind of culture you’ve created. If you can’t pull it off, it’s a great opportunity for honesty and to express the inherent risk of love and leadership. (Though it’s harder when your kids are teenagers and have very refined nonsense filters.) Still, you can do it. Just tell them: “I think I’ve/we’ve built the wrong kind of climate/culture around here. I take the blame/responsibility for that. But tonight I’d like for us to start over. When we’re done eating, I’d like to begin a new habit of reading and praying together.” Something like that. The big piece of humble pie, the plate of crow, turns to honey in your mouth. Not quite the same as Ezk 3:3 but… work with me.

“Deadly pestilence” has been around for a long time. I’ve been sharing with people a passage from John Paton’s autobiography. Be sure and read to the end. Paton was a 19th C. Scottish missionary to the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) and he’s writing about his father.

“Our place of worship was the Reformed Presbyterian Church at Dumfries, under the ministry, during most of these days, of Rev. John McDermid – a genuine, solemn, lovable Covenanter, who cherished towards my father a warm respect, that deepened into apostolic affection when the yellow hair turned snow-white and both of them grew patriarchal in their years. The Minister, indeed, was translated to a Glasgow charge; but that rather exalted than suspended their mutual love. Dumfries was four miles fully from our Torthorwald home; but the tradition is that during all these forty years my father was only thrice prevented from attending the worship of God – once by ice on the road, so dangerous that he was forced to crawl back up the Roucan Brae on his hands and knees, after having descended it so far with many falls; and once by the terrible outbreak of cholera at Dumfries. All intercourse betwixt the town and the surrounding villages, during that awful visitation, was publicly prohibited; and the farmers and villagers, suspecting that no cholera would make my father stay at home on Sabbath, sent a deputation to my mother on the Saturday evening, and urged her to restrain his devotions for once! That, however, was needless; as, where the life of others was at stake, his very devotion came to their aid.”

Love and miss you all very much. Looking forward to seeing you again.