“Keep the Faith!”
The following reflection was prepared for the memorial service of Mae Edwards, July 30.
It begins with a prayer from a book that meant a lot to Mae.
Lord, this morning,
Put his [our] eyes to the telescope of eternity,
And let [us] look upon the paper walls of time.
Lord, turpentine [our] imaginations,
Put perpetual motion of [our] arms,
Fill [us] full of the dynamite of thy power,
Anoint [us] all over with the oil of thy salvation,
And set [our] tongues on fire.
Listen, O Lord – A Prayer from God’s Trombones, by James Weldon Johnson.
Imagination, perpetual motion, dynamite power, tongues on fire.
These words describe a person ALIVE in their faith.
Our readings this morning came from one of the most eloquent chapters on faith in the Bible – Hebrews 11 – and from a book of the Bible that holds a famous demonstration of persistent faith, the book of Job. Mae’s faith was rooted in the knowing that the living Spirit of God, the Risen Christ, dwells with her – “in life, in death, we belong to the Lord.”
God’s presence and power, to all who believe, is both a mystery and a certainty.
That phrase, “keep the faith” was spoken often by Mae. It begins with the word, “keep.” To keep faith, we have learned throughout Christian history, one must practice – one must exercise the faith muscles. There are the classic ways of doing this:
- – have a consistent prayer life,
– take risks for the sake of God’s world,
– reflect on Scripture with a community,
– serve and advocate for the vulnerable,
– intentionally support others in their faith journeys
– share what God is doing in your life.
To keep the faith, we must use our faith muscles in real-life conversations, relationships, circumstances, and in the future, we are creating together.
When Mae learned she was not going to return to her house, I started visiting her regularly at the nursing care facility. We talked about the difference she makes in the lives of everyone who comes in contact with her. The staff, the residents, those she would meet while in the physical therapy room. She shared with me the conversations she had. One day in PT she heard a therapist call a patient by name. Mae looked at him and addressed him by name – I know you, she said, “I am Dock Edward’s wife.” The two of them conversed, and as she shared this, I said, “do you realize the joy you brought to that man today, because you spoke up?”
When a bright light enters a room, the room is changed. And when that bright light addresses you, there is something inside you that remembers what Life is for. Life is affirmed.
That is why we must keep the faith – the world needs bright lights; people whose eyes are on the telescope of eternity; people with vision.
People with imagination, and perpetual motion in their arms. People filled with the dynamite of god’s power, And with tongues that have been set on fire.\
Keeping the faith asks us to live as if God is walking with us –even in those days when that seems remote. Faith in God does not grow naturally over time. It is practiced; exercised; and lived into day by day, seeing the image of God in every person we know. Keeping the faith brings us comfort – and keeping the faith leads us to serve this world, even in uncomfortable territory.
Mae was born into this congregation – our longest-standing member. Her faithfulness throughout the decades has made LPC what it is; the faithfulness of each one of us has an impact in our world. It’s true – ordinary people keeping the faith become extraordinary people.
Extraordinary like Mae Edwards.
In Faith with You,
Earth Care Team
Family Promise Volunteer Co-Coordinator
Please consider helping to recruit future Family Promise volunteers for LPC’s hosting weeks. We have been using SignUp, an online service. LPC’s next hosting week is not until November 10-17, 2019, so there’s no work until September. This involves placing invitation blurbs in the Epistle and bulletins, managing the event’s volunteer spots via SignUp, interacting with support congregation coordinators, and sending emails to volunteers. This will lessen the recruiting burden on Kathy Noah, who coordinates just about everything during our hosting weeks.
Family Promise Fund Raiser
We Rocked the Church on April 25th.
We had lots of cool décor, good munchies, fantastic music from The Wag, and a whole lot of generous friends. Our “Cool Stuff for Sale” helped raise money, too. After all the money was collected and the expenses paid, it turns out that this was OUR BEST FUNDRAISER EVER!!!
We brought in almost $2000, expenses were $436, and we gave $1556 to Family Promise. Many, many thanks to all who were part of this joyous event.