Monday, May 11, 2015
Virginia Didn't Quit and Run Away
Less than 40 years ago, Paul and I were saddened to hear a classmate led "his" church out of the denomination.
I think people used it there even before it became legal.
Some narcotics are auto-suggested.
Schismatics may be among...
Anyway, Paul said, "Can you believe it? The church is over a century old. He's been there a miniscule fraction of that time; and he teams up with a session with a yearly 30% rotating turnover and takes 'em out of the denomination."
Solomon: "There is nothing new under the sun."
Harold: "If you find your perfect church, please don't join it because it won't be perfect anymore after you join."
Jesus: "People will know you are My disciples if you..."
Virginia joined "our" church back in 1954.
I buried her on December 13, 2014.
She was 95.
While we were friends and went to the table in her home and then nursing facility over the past decade, she rarely came to church in the last 15+ years of her life.
I'll never forget lunch at Sue's Place just up the street from First not long after I arrived on the scene.
Actually, it's no longer there.
Out of business.
Like lots of mainline churches.
Anyway, I was trying to find my way around town and went there for lunch.
Virginia was the only other person in the little sandwich shop; and though I did not know her yet, she said, "I think you're my new pastor."
I said, "Well, then, I must be your new pastor."
I sat down with her and we started eating lunch together.
She talked about some of the problems during the interim period; and some of the changes that had occurred even before that and how she'd become a little disappointed in how things were going.
Then she said, "And I'm not going back to the second service because I just can't stand those drums in worship."
Our waitress chimed in, "You're talking about my husband."
Annnnnnnd so I met two members of the church at the same time and began my counseling career on the corner of Lincoln and Main.
Truly, that encounter became a metaphor for the first seven or eight years of my call to First.
Interim periods often take that long before...
Moretheless, I became friends with both and both remained/remain faithful despite, uh, differences of...
Virginia and I talked about that day after we went to the table for the last time not long before she went home.
Annnnnnnd now as Paul Harvey used to say, "Annnnnnd, now, the rest of the story!"
This part of the story speaks to Virginia's unshakable, consistent, and remarkable fidelity to God and allegiance to her family of faith for better or worse, richer or poorer,...
Though disappointed by the church, she never picked up her marbles and went somewhere else.
She never stopped giving to the church. She never used money as a weapon to get back at people with whom she disagreed.
Her loyalties to Jesus and her family of faith were deeper than that kind of superficial inauthentic religion divorced from the One who came not to divide but to...
Virginia did not have a religion about Jesus easily shaken by personal prejudices and even...; but rather she had a relationship with Jesus reflected in her steady relationship with the family that endured and overcame differences so the unity of believers expected by Jesus was never disrupted or detoured in her 60 years of membership.
Annnnnnd when she died, we discovered she had remembered her family in her will; and helped us to overcome some financial recklessness during our renovation.
Rather than quit and run away when we didn't pass one her litmus tests, she continued sacrificially supporting her family and is a renowned continuing model of fidelity to family for Christ's sake.
Just like Paul and me about four decades ago, I often wish younger people had a better sense of history; uh, I mean His story.
Blessings and Love!