DJ had to present her faith statement to the Session at church tonight. I’m an Elder at First Pres. and had the priviledge of hearing kids share what they believe in years past. It’s pretty powerful.
Last week, DJ and I spent some time discussing what she believes so that she’d be prepared for this important event.
As we talked, I began to think about what and who shaped my faith.
Being the kid of a preacher, I was at church more than not. One Sunday when I was about 4, my grandparents were in town and offered to let me stay home with them instead of the usual routine of Sunday School and sleeping on my mother’s lap through the service. My parents didn’t like the stay at home option. Apparently when told I’d be heading with them, I stomped my foot and said, “Church, church, all I do is church!”
My preacher today wishes my attendance was such that I would have the right to say that now!
There were incredible people who molded my beliefs. Some by making me run in a different direction! Some simply through their actions.
My grandfather, Spurgeon (if only I’d had a son to pass that name down to) or as we called him Papa, was a key to showing me, through action, what being a Godly man is all about.
At 9 pm sharp, in the middle of The Love Boat or any other show we might be watching, he would barge into the den reading passages from the bible out loud and would continue until my grandmother demanded he stop. He seldom missed church and had a blind faith in the God he’d been taught to obey.
He ran a small grocery store most of his life and fought hard not to open on Sundays when everyone else in town had made that move. He refused to sell alcohol, which would have been lucrative business for him. He sang hymns all the time and prayed before every meal. I can see his unsteady hands and head, victims of Parkinson’s disease, bobbling as he bowed out of respect.
I think the greatest lesson he taught me was to be loving and kind to others. Although he didn’t have a ton of money, if anyone came into his store hungry or in need, he would give them what they needed, sometimes to my grandmother’s dismay. And he loved people. Those who drove the rest of us crazy – and there were some interesting characters who frequented his establishment – he embraced.
He was a very, very good man.
I’m not sure that my actions are always consistent with the teachings of the bible or even with my own words at times. I’m certainly not walking around the house singing hymns and I don’t often interrupt American Idol to read passages from the book of Isaiah. I’m also not nearly as good as Papa at embracing those who are different from me.
I’m proud of my daughter and of the young woman she’s becoming. And I am thankful for the community that surrounds her helping me teach the things that my family so diligently worked to teach me.