Monday, July 12, 2004

Not the worship service I had planned on...

Finding leads to losing
Losing lets you find
Living leads to dying
But life leaves death behind
Losing leads to finding
That's all that I can say...
No one will find Life another way.

(Ken Medema, from his Backstage Pass video)
Preach it, Br'er Medema.

My plan for this Sunday morning was to walk down to the Hyde Park Union Church this morning...and I actually made it out the door and about a block down Woodlawn in that direction. But I woke up not feeling overwell, and found, the further that I walked, the worse that I was feeling. I made it home just in time to encounter some significant gastric distress, effectively ending my worship plans for this Sunday, anyway. I was kind of frustrated - I really needed to be in worship, mentally and spiritually, this morning. I really, really needed the boost.

I don't know what made me look over at the bookshelf, and pick up Ken Medema's video of a couple years ago - but I do know that from the moment I put it in, I was "in worship' in the confines of my Chicago apartment. Laughing, crying, praying, I gave thanks to God for the ministry of this gifted musician and unordained minister (and for my sisters and brothers at Atonement Lutheran Church in Overland Park, Kansas, who introduced me to Ken 10 months ago).

Later on in the "service," Ken sang these words:

Come walk with me in the darkness
And as we walk along
I'll tell you quite a story,
And I'll sing you quite a song -
I'll sing about light, and darkness,
About victory and defeat,
Corruption on the mountains
And compassion in the street...

'Cause it's a long night, and weary grow the feet
That walk the long road, but the morning will come sweet,
Yes it's a long night, but the Prince is in the streets tonight....
I have to admit that I have felt like I have been in "a long night," and my weak and wobbly feet have grown weary, at times. And a week ago, I had to confess to a couple friends that I just wasn't makin' it here, and I needed help - spiritually, emotionally, and financially. (Under normal circumstances, I would rather have had a gasoline enema than make that admission...but I'm finding that my pride can be an expensive option to hold onto, these days.)

Three friends, in ways great and small, made the difference between despair and hope this weekend. Without them, I really don't even want to consider what I'd have to do. With them, I have the gift to "keep on keepin' on," as my buddy Tex Sample would say. I am blessed beyond my ability to describe to you. You each know who you are...this is one way to say thank you.

Isn't it strange - I can see amazing potential and willingness in others, and have reached out repeatedly to help support them over the last decade-plus of my life. But when my back is against the wall, why do I continue to assume that my only option is to pull myself up by my own bootstraps? "The evil I do not want is what I do," Paul writes in Romans 7. I'm just so glad that there are people who know me (and love and care for me despite all that), without whom I would have failed in my ministry and life-time quests a long time ago. Thank you, God, for the gift of these people - and for Brother Medema, for reminding me just how powerful worship can be!

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