I saw two vintage photographs of ministry couples we know, taken when they were in their prime in the 70s. There were beards, long hair, long flowered dresses, and smiles that are as recognizable today as they were then.
As I looked I realized that just those two couples had webs of relationships, and influence, that numbered in the thousands. By that I mean a web of relationships with significant personal influence, not merely social media connections.
That led to a time reflecting on Karen’s and my journey and our web of relationships. It made me marvel, and moved me thinking of the people we’ve walked with for a season of their lives. There is our generation, our long friends, some we’ve known from childhood. We see them captured in moments of dumbstruck awe as they hold the child of their son or daughter. We grieve over too many of our cohort who already walk alone.
Along the way, once or twice, I’ve caught myself in a congregation somewhere staring, almost rudely, at the young woman in her twenties that I cradled in my arm when I poured out the sign and symbol of God’s unfailing grace on her tiny head, praying that the blessing of God would descend upon her, and dwell in her heart forever.
And here are two more wonders: catching a glimpse of a daughter, singing to her son the songs that were sung to her when she was a child, and a friend who asks about the faith and foibles of our children, because he knew them, and loved them, when they were young….
Thinking about these things rekindles my desire to give my energies and gifts to pastor those who pastor others so that they and their web of relationships stays rich, strong, and full of beauty down through the generations.
As I write, I wonder if you see how powerful a current this is in the lives of people you know. And if you do, I’d love to talk about it...preferably in person.