504 Java Profile

504 Java Profile
Two of my favorite things

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On Funeral Processions and Margins

Today I was on my way to physical therapy (back, knee, aging body--see older posts).  I was late because traffic was awful and I am not very good at leaving enough time to anticipate non-normal commute times.  That is another way of saying I don't leave margins in my life.  Margins are the non-committed places in a calendar that let your spirit catch up with your body. Rest. Planning. Guilty pleasures like Sports Center or watching a Little League World Series game in its entirety.

So the reason for the traffic was a funeral--not just any funeral, but the funeral procession of St. Charles Parish deputy Brandon Nielsen  (go here for the story articles.cnn.com/.../justice_louisiana-officers-shot_1_gunshot-wound ). A  senseless shooting left two young men dead. One was buried yesterday (on his birthday) and the other was buried today.  The reason traffic was backed up was that the law enforcement people around our state were out in force.  The state patrol blocked entrance ramps.

Deputy Brandon Nielsen Funeral

A group of uniformed motorcycle riders led hundreds of cars in the processional. Most of the cars had their blue light bars on and as they passed, I saw the door decals of the state patrol, the border patrol, sheriffs from other parishes, city police, town police, federal police--you get the idea.  The show of respect was overwhelming.  Law enforcement personnel from all of these places marked this day on the calendar with less than a week notice and allowed nothing to get in the way of being in line behind the hearse that day.

To say I was moved is an understatement. I teared up thinking of how much it must mean to the family to see all of those blue lights flashing in silent support of their fallen comrade, unknown to many of them. The number of vehicles was impressive, but I also thought about the number of calendars that got rearranged because this one thing was the most important way they could have started their day.

I have been told since I started following Jesus that a daily time with God is the most important way to start my day. Jesus modeled (Matthew 14) that in the midst of challenging circumstances, it is a part of coping and healing to get away.  Yet, I allow the smallest things to get in the way of the most important thing.

It is easy to see how the policemen and policewomen in the caravan this morning realized the importance of putting their existing agendas behind Officer Nielsen's funeral. Why can't I intuitively grasp the importance of putting sleep, breakfast, the morning paper, exercise or anything else ahead of time with the Creator of the Cosmos, the Healer of the Hurting, and the Mediator of  my Manic schedule. 

I imagine that from now on when I see flashing blue lights on a police cruiser (as long as they are not immediately behind my vehicle), I will remember to pray, thanking God that He is so available, so redemptive, and so able to maximize what I thought was precious time.  He does that when I create margins for Him to speak into my day through His word and my meditation on it.

I will pray for your margins as well.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On Singing and Sarah

My daughter Sarah is a singer. And an actress. And a dancer.She is expressive, emotional and delightful. You can probably tell that this daddy is proud.  When Sarah sings in a show, she brings you into the scene with her. When she sings in worship, she brings you to the place where you feel God's presence. 

When Sarah was little--before she realized that her singing gene didn't come from me--I would sing her to sleep.  I only knew all of the verses to one hymn so that is the one I sang. 

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand.
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

Sarah called it "Daddy's Song" and while she was talking about me, the name has stuck in my head.  Our Father has given us hope that is nothing less than righteousness based upon the love He lavished on his sleeping children through His Son.  This morning in my devotion time, I read Zephaniah 3:17:
17 The Lord your God is with you,
              he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
              he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."NIV

Our Father is mighty to save. He delights in us. He quiets our frantic spirits in the midst of manic days--with His unbelievable love.  Too often, I am so busy to be calmed.  It is like when our children are talking so fast about the crisis of the hour that they do not pause long enough to hear their daddy say, "I've got this. It's taken care of."

And just like I would sing over Sarah, our Father sings over us.  Be still (Ps. 46:10) and you might just hear the melodic sounds of grace singing into your life.