Thursday, September 1, 2011

Staring off into the clouds (of witnesses)

Today I've been working with theory and practice related to sociology of religion. I love this stuff. Almost can't get enough of it. Especially when something happens in the daily activity of ministry, and I visualize a constructing bridge cantilevering over the chasm between academia and ministry. Three hours of thinking, posting, praying, reading. It felt like 15 minutes. I was in a zone, in a place for me where I know the Holy Spirit resides. It doesn't get much better than that for me.

Today was also the day my oldest daughter had her first day of school. I remember watching The Cosby Show as a kid and the celebration Cliff and Claire Huxtable used to have on the first day of school. I was feeling that. I love my daughter, and I will miss her while she is at school in a matter of days. A little lost in the shuffle is my 4 year old, who doesn't start preschool until next week. She kept coming in to talk to me (as she is prone to do) while I was giddy with idea flow, and I was too dismissive of her conversation. I looked to the heavens for a little insight, and I remembered a teacher of mine who spoke to me from the cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1).

The cloud of witnesses are supposed to be the heroes of the faith. This was not my favorite teacher, one that often perturbed me. However, I remembered some wise words I received about how he was once taught that church life and pursuits always came first in ministry, and following that was the most significant regret in a life of ministry. The cloud of witnesses and the Holy Spirit directed me to get on my knees, look my daughter in the eye and say "Let's play a game. How about Candy Land?" I was moved to think about how she moved into the cloud of witnesses. That cloud allowed me to be thankful for the joy in the presence of God, joy in the flow of ideas, and joy in the simple connection of the moment. All in the midst of things that could have just as easily annoyed me. Thanks be to God.


  1. Sounds like you've learned the lesson my grandmother taught me - "You can't raise children and flowers, too." And the children are the most important.

  2. Thanks, Abbie. I can't say I live the lesson enough. But I'm thankful when I can remember it.