Spring is here, and I’m loving it. April showers and warm spring temperatures have brought forth the beauty and glory of new life. Tulips, daffodils and flowering trees of every description are in full bloom, blessing our senses with sights, fragrances and beauties, only God could have dreamed up. When I think about all the blessings God showers on us in this season of new life, I can’t help but think of the song, “Hallelujahs”, by Kathy Troccoli. Here are a few of the lyrics: “Oh praise Him, all His mighty works, there is no language where you can’t be heard. Your song goes out to all the earth and my soul wells up with Hallelujahs.”
The same is true when witnessing God’s creative hands at work in our churches. Over the past few months we have witnessed the growth and the flowering of faith in our young people in confirmation classes. The questions they ask and the answers they give are wonderful examples of how God can create the beauty of new life in every faze and every season of our churches lives. Two things are becoming more and more apparent the older I get. The first is that “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) The second is: the older I get the faster time seems to goes by. Next month these confirmation students will become members of the church; members of the Body of Christ. It’s beginning to dawn on me that soon, and probably much sooner than I could have imagined, the guidance of our churches will be under the direction of some of our budding confirmation students. Springtime in the church is here and it’s a beautiful thing! And again the song arises in my heart, “Oh praise Him, all
I’d like to leave you with one more thought before I close this edition of the May 2017 newsletter. It comes to you by way of the true story of Charles Plumb, a US Naval Academy graduate, who was a jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and later lectured on lessons learned from that experience.
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!” “How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb. “I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said, “Good morning, how are you?” or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor. Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.
Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what he or she needs to make it through the day. Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory – he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety. Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to him or her, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason.
As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachute. I am writing you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my parachute!!! And I hope you will pass it on to those who have helped pack yours!
Spring is here. “Oh praise Him, all His mighty works, there is no language where you can’t be heard. Your song goes out to all the earth and my soul wells up with Hallelujahs.”
New life is all around. Enjoy it.
Grace and Peace To You,
Click here to read of the May/June Newsletter!