We all survived Christmas. Even Beaven, who fell prey to a nasty stomach virus and spent most of Christmas Day either in the bathroom or asleep. I came close to excommunication when the scented candles I took to worship spilled red wax all over the sanctuary carpet. After all the feathers settled I just went in Christmas Day and did the ironing on paper towels trick and nobody will ever know. But for sure I'll recommend to my committee charged with new ideas for worship that we switch to incense when searching for a scented worship experience.
Elizabeth took charge of our meal on Christmas Day and achieved the Close-to-Perfect meal in that it was all carbs except for the gravy which had some nice healthy broth in it and the bird, who I figure is a good protein so it evens out.
It’s New Years Eve and I'm right where I want to be. I’ve thought lately that in the transition from one year to another, a person might be better off if they placed themselves as close to the Kingdom of God as they could get. For me, this kingdom is found among people in need surrounded by people helping them. When I am there I feel as though I am working shoulder to shoulder with the King Himself. So, I’m on a mission trip with three of our high school kids. We’re on the Texas Gulf Coast helping with the Ike recovery. I’ve stayed in the same work, just changed names of hurricanes.
But in this transition from one year to the next, a benediction seems in order. Goodbye to 2008 should include Wise Words for 2009. For this I would like to share the benediction my friend Mona Bailey gave on the last day she served as pastor of the Corinth Presbyterian Church in Parker, Texas. I was actually there that day and Mona even passed out copies of this benediction. But I didn’t have enough sense to realize what a gem it is. It wasn’t until my pastor, who also knows Mona, started using it to close our worship in Garland that it settled on my brain. It has now passed into the realm of classics. I can’t think of better words to accompany us as we leave 2008 and take tentative steps into 2009:
Remain in awe of mystery.
If you come to your senses and notice that you are in a far country hanging out with swine, Get up and go home.
If your cupped hands are full of blame,
Drop the blame and hold out your empty hands to receive a blessing.
Live life fully, trusting God to weave wonders from whatever mistakes you make.
Don’t squander your life being too cautious.
If you think you’ve got it made, you don’t,
If you think it’s hopeless, it isn’t
Jesus welcomed and ate with sinners.
- Rev. Mona Bailey