Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sharing a gift from a mentor

In the spring of 1998, while trying to talk myself OUT of a recurring idea that I might want to be involved in ministry, I took an Intro to Ministry class at St. Paul School of Theology, and my instructor was Dr. Tex Sample. (That's right...Tex is his given name...long story.)

At our first class, Tex walked into our class...I don't remember, anymore, that he even introduced himself that night. What I *do* remember was the genteel drawl of this Mississippi oil-field-worker-turned preacher, pastor, sociologist and evangelist as he said, "Gentle persons - let us pray..." And he pulled out a well-thumbed little book, opened it to what was probably a very carefully pre-planned "random" page, and shared with us what seemed to be a marvelously appropriate and wonderful prayer.

That's how I became acquainted with Prayers for Daily Use by Samuel H. Miller. (Miller had been Dean of Harvard Divinity School when Tex had gone for his doctorate.) Each class I had with Tex (I rarely every heard anyone call him "Dr. Sample") began with the Mississippi fox and his little book - and somehow each prayer seemed to hit home. So when I found a copy of Miller's little volume (which had been published in 1957, the year I was born) out on the Internet, I couldn't help latching onto it.

So from time to time I will share some of these gems with y'all. Some are short - some are longer. Where some the language is more contorted, I may adapt them to a more comfortable style. But this one seemed particularly appropriate to me this morning. So take a sip of your favorite morning beverage, and share in the blessings handed down across the generations from teacher, to student, to student...

...and bless you, Tex, for sharing with us. Your lessons and examples just "keep on keepin' on," brother.
If we turn to you, God, and find our lips silent -
If we seek to praise you, and our hearts are strangely empty -
If we yearn to pray, and our lives lie like lead in our hands -
Then in mercy, let your Holy Spirit teach us how to wait upon you until you come. Protect us from the distraction of every novelty until we learn how to meditate upon the plain miracles which sustain us all day long. Discipline us by such training of our souls that we may find the communion of peace and joy in which spirit speaks unto spirit, and all our depths are awakened by the sound of your still small voice. Amen.

(Samuel Miller, Prayers for Daily Use (New York: Harper & Bros., 1957), page 33.

1 comment:

New Life said...

I heard Tex speak at a conference about a year a ago and he was fantastic. He is one of the best I have ever heard. What a guy. I am envious that you studied with him! :)

Very cool!