Having just returned from vacationing near Lake Michigan, knowing my children will return to school tomorrow, and even seeing some leaves starting to turn because of the cool weather, I am reminded of how quickly the summer is ending. Though not quite a paper on "What I did on My Summer Vacation," here are a few of many reflections.
Since the days of high school in dating Miriam, I have spent weeks of every summer in Western Michigan with her family. Except last year when we moved and her mother passed away. So it was a delight to return there. Once again we took a morning with her dad to pick blueberries. I will never tire of the wonder of the "wasted" abundance of the berries, with nearly as many overripe ones having fallen on the ground and overlooked ones remaining on the plant as ones actually picked by us and others. When Jesus fed the five thousand and they had ample leftovers, He was simply acting in accordance with His nature as God in overflowing with generosity.
_With a friend for accountability, I resumed a pen and paper journal after a long hiatus. I felt the wonder again not just of recording meditative words, but _forming them by the movement of my hand across paper versus the pecking of a keyboard. Perhaps a theological truth is reflected in this act, i.e., entering into the creative joy of the God who used His finger to write His commandments, the Son who is His incarnate Word, and the Spirit who inspired human hands to not only record but form His inscripturated word?
My little sufferings are not only unworthy to be compared to the glories yet to be revealed. Each small ache reminds me they are as nothing to the great sufferings many of my brothers and sisters in Christ go through.
What evil is it that lurks in my heart and gets so much joy at quietly tossing a stick for our dog Oscar on the beach near one of my sunbathing children, then laughs uproariously as he throws sand between his legs on them as he tries to dig around it in order to retrieve it?
_If only we pastors had as much insight into human character as Dickens, we would sure liven up our pulpit ministries. I've been reading _A Tale of Two Cities with amazement of how he not only describes but makes you feel man's corruption.
_For a few days, all my children and their spouses were with us. And my granddaughter (!), who at 20 months is as cute as can be. It is amazing how a child was the absolute center of attention for those days, with everyone seeking to hold her and laughing at her every antic. A reminder that we do have a Savior who put a child in the midst of His disciples to point the way of the kingdom. Wonder of wonders that He delights in us even as He deals with us. _
In my ongoing studies, I took a class on pastoral care with Derek Thomas. Only he, I believe, could make a connection between the supralapsarian-infralapsarian debate and caring for suffering people, but he did. I also learned about "ocular catechisms," which are diagrammatic portrayals of the decrees of God, the work of Christ, and the responses of man. If you would like to view a couple, see William Perkin's here and John Bunyan's here. Have fun! And be reminded that whatever time of year or even life it is, we are always to be learning.
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