Monday, June 22, 2009

when i grow up, i want to be like Mom

My mother turned 89 last Friday, and how did she celebrate this special day? She became a member of Facebook! Yep, she joined that ubiquitous, perhaps insidious, social network that allows you to connect with long-lost friends, past neighbors, high school and college classmates and become friends with folks all over the world. And knowing my Mom, she will soon have more FB friends than I could ever hope for.

It really shouldn't surprise me that this is how my mother celebrated her birthday. After all, she has always been trying out new things, learning new ways, meeting new people, discovering new places. When she remarried in her mid-50's, she took up golf, and became an addict. She divides her baseball loyalties between the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs, wearing out remotes switching from game to game. She became adept at computer skills, surfing the Net like a 14-year-old. She was ordained an elder in the Presbyterian Church the same year I was ordained as a pastor. A lifelong Anglophile, she headed over to Britain in her 70's.

She is a constant reminder to me of the Biblical truth that when it comes to God's job description for being a child of God, there is no retirement age, no gold watch handed out, no rocking chair on the front porch. God is always challenging folks, of whatever age, to go to new places, meet new folks, take on new challenges, learn new ways of being and doing, discovering that gift-seed that God planted so long ago and is now ready to blossom.

From Abe and Sarah leaving the retirement center in Haran to travel to Canaan, to Moses turning in his resignation to his father-in-law to return to Egypt, to Hannah, Hosea, Deborah, Paul, Phoebe, Barnabas, John on Patmos, and down through all the centuries, God keeps prodding us, nudging us, encouraging us, asking us to grow, to blossom, to serve, to live as God's beloved children. My mother is that living example of one who continues to step out in faith, in new and exciting ways.

But if she starts Twittering . . .

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

pressed against the window

A young boy (12 or so?), with his younger sister, showed up first. Then come a high school kid, riding his bike, with the ever-present pack on his back. A couple of minutes later, a mother showed up with her four children of various ages. So, this motley crew and I stood waiting for the doors to be unlocked and opened.

About 5 minutes before noon, the kids started getting antsy. First, the littlest one, then the next oldest, then on up the line. Fidgeting, wiggling, bouncing up and down as if ready for lift off. Then, since the brother and the sister pressed their faces against the window, peering in to see if there was a real person inside, with a key in their hand, the little ones joined them. And finally, the teenager had his face against the glass door. (of course, being so much more mature, I wouldn't act so silly, but it did bring back memories of when I was all those different ages, doing the same exact thing, at a very similar place).

Finally, some 17 seconds past the posted time, the librarian finally unlocked the door, letting the tide of impatient readers into the holy of holies.

A fascinating scene! One repeated so many times, in so many places, by so many people. The fans of Jay Leno, lining up hours ahead of time, hoping to get one of the few remaining seats for his last 'Tonight Show.' The teenagers (and some of us older fans) purchasing tickets weeks in advance for the next Harry Potter movie. The Cameron Crazies camping out for a week or more to get into see one of the basketball games at Duke University. Always amazing sights.

Just once, I'd like to show up at church, and see someone's face pressed against the glass door leading into the sanctuary! Just once, wouldn't you like to have folks get to church 12 hours early for a Christmas or Easter service? Just once, couldn't some folks want to taste the gifts of the Table so much that they camp out on the church's lawn for days in advance?

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman